Facebook was recently caught in a massive leak of personal information including the data of more than 530 million users. While Facebook claims that this data leak was from “malicious users” last year and in 2019, it never notified users on the platform then and found a loophole to keep their case clean now. Big Tech just gets more suspicious and defensive behind their lawyers by the day.
Facebook has been dealing with security issues and lawsuits for years now. The platform had to disable certain features that would allow users to search for one another via phone number, as well as a security researcher finding the database for more than 267 million Facebook users in December 2019 on the open internet.
A Facebook spokesperson, who has reported the numerous data leaks, said the most recent one reached over 530 million Facebook users in a low-level hacking forum. The information contained their full names, phone numbers, locations, email addresses, biographical information, and date of birth. It was being made freely available online so that hackers could use the data to impersonate people and commit fraud from 106 countries. 32 million U.S Facebook users were involved in the data breach.
Alan Gal, the chief technology officer of a cybercrime intelligence firm first discovered the data of Facebook users in December 2019 when a user in a hacking forum advertised an automated bot that could provide phone numbers to users for a price.
“A database of that size containing the private information such as phone numbers a lot of Facebook’s users would certainly lead to bad actors taking advantage of the data to perform social-engineering attacks [or] hacking attempts,” Gal said.
Facebook has yet to address their users about any hacking schemes or fraud attempts to collect data on their platform. Gal argues that individuals sign up with reputable companies like Facebook because they are hoping that Facebook treats their data with the utmost respect and attempts to defend it as best they can. “Users having their personal information leaked is a huge breach of trust and should be handled accordingly,” Gal adds.
While Facebook argues that users cannot fix the problem themselves, the data could provide valuable information for hacks or other abuses. For years, Facebook employees and spokespeople have declined to report details about unauthorized access to data, but have said they can be in contact to “answer any questions.”
“The Facebook spokesman said the social media company was not confident it had full visibility on which users would need to be notified. He said it also took into account that users could not fix the issue and that the data was publicly available in deciding not to notify users,” a Facebook spokesperson told The Reuters.
Facebook is pulling familiar moves from the same playbook in regards to tech censorship, misinformation, and all of the other security failures online. Big Tech will have to take responsibility or lose all of their users soon enough.