Personal data belonging to 533 million Facebook users from more than 100 countries were leaked. The data, which can be accessed for free, may be used by cybercriminals to steal identities and scam or extort money from victims, according to Alon Gal, CTO of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, which discovered the leaked data.
According to a list he published, the most affected countries include Egypt (46 million Facebook users), Italy (35 million), the US (32 million Facebook users), the UK (11 million), Russia (nearly 10 million).
In the European Union, besides Italy (35 million), the countries with many citizens targeted by the leak are Spain-10.8 million Facebook users, Germany – 6 million, Netherlands- 5.4 million, Belgium- 3.1 million, Poland- 2.6 million.
The data leak refers to phone numbers, Facebook ID, first and last name, location, dates, email addresses, according to Business Insider.
No account passwords have been leaked, Axios mentions.
This is not the first time that many Facebook users’ phone numbers have been found exposed online. The vulnerability that was uncovered in 2019 allowed millions of people’s phone numbers to be scraped from Facebook’s servers in violation of its terms of service. Facebook said that vulnerability was patched in August 2019.
As early as January 2021, Motherboard reported that someone had put the personal data of 500 million Facebook users up for sale on the Internet. The company also stated that it was the security incident that was remedied in August 2019.
Gal said Facebook can’t do much to help affected users because their data has already been posted, but he said Facebook can notify the users so they can watch for scams or frauds.