In a revelation that shocked users, Facebook admitted that it had stored millions of Instagram passwords in a plain online text. Ever since, the tech giant has been trying (unsuccessfully) to put out fires and convince everyone that the Facebook database leak isn’t what it seems. They tried to blame a “technical flaw” on a major privacy brief. This flaw exposed children to adult strangers through the Messenger Kids app.
New evidence suggests that over 419 million user accounts were infiltrated, revealing private user phone numbers and private details. Of course, Facebook is trying all they can to bury the scandal. They want to play it off as though it’s not as serious as the rumors make it sound. But the vast majority of users aren’t buying it.
Read on to find out what we know about the story thus far.
How Did the Facebook Database Leak Happen?
Researchers found databases with the private phone number of a total of 419 million Facebook users. These phone numbers were linked to the user’s account IDs. Basically, anyone searching for this information could find this database and use those numbers to infiltrate user devices.
Plus, this security breach is just the tip of the iceberg. According to a TechCrunch report, this database breach affected users in multiple territories. It included 50 million users in Vietnam, 18 million users in the UK and a total of 133 million users in the U.S.
The Extent of the Facebook Database Leak
Inside the above-mentioned record, they all featured unique Facebook IDs of the individual members including the phone numbers that go with them.
This shocked many people because Facebook made a public announcement in early 2018 that it would work harder to restrict access to private data by third parties. But, it’s clear that Facebook has a lot of room to grow in this area as shown by the most recent data leak.
In addition to leaking user Facebook IDs and phone numbers, TechCrunch found that Facebook left these databases open and unsecured. This meant that anyone could infiltrate them and find user’s country, location, gender and name, among other sets of data.
There’s no telling who obtained the databases or what they wanted to use it for. But we can confirm that one of the servers didn’t belong to Facebook.
A report from the Guardian shows that Facebook is deliberately attempting to downplay this major privacy breach. It did this by reducing the number of affected users by up to half. Reps from the company claim that only 217 million accounts were affected instead of the initially reported 419 million. But, Facebook has been known to try and minimize the impact of privacy and security breaches.
The most surprising aspect of it all is the fact that a security breach of this magnitude could happen in this day and age. In 2019, you don’t expect to find unprotected servers. In fact, it’s dangerous to even see partial phone numbers. This is because someone could use that partial information to find your Facebook ID.
In fact, it’s not uncommon for attackers to use phone numbers, or a part thereof, to track and hijack user identities and information.
How to Protect Yourself
Don’t forget to use two-factor authentication to beef up your profile security. After all, it’s almost impossible to create an online profile anywhere without providing your contact details.
But, it’s important to use some sort of hardware security key or authentication app just to make sure you’re safe from SIM-swapping attacks which are becoming increasingly common in different countries around the world.
What measures are you taking to protect yourself against possible Facebook database leaks? Let us know in the comments section below. We would love to hear from you!