Agence France-PresseApril 7, 2021 9:32:22 PM IST
San Francisco: Facebook said Tuesday that hackers “scraped” the personal data of some 500 million users in 2019 by taking advantage of a feature designed to help people easily find friends using contact lists.
A treasure trove of information on more than 530 million Facebook users was shared over the weekend on a hacker forum, prompting the leading social network to explain what happened and ask people to pay attention to the settings. Of privacy.
“It is important to understand that malicious actors obtained this data not by hacking our systems, but by removing it from our platform before September 2019,” Facebook Director of Product Management Mike Clark said in a post.
“This is another example of the ongoing and confrontational relationship that technology companies have with scammers who intentionally violate platform policies to remove Internet services.”
The data included phone numbers, dates of birth and email addresses, and some of the data appeared to be up-to-date, according to US media reports.
The stolen data did not include passwords or financial data, according to Facebook.
Scraping is a tactic that involves using automated software to collect publicly shared information online.
“Facebook’s 533,000,000 records were leaked for free,” Alon Gal, chief technology officer at cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, said on Twitter on Saturday.
He denounced what he called the “utter negligence” of Facebook.
“Bad actors will certainly use the information for social engineering, scam, piracy and marketing,” Gal said on Twitter.
Clark urged members of the social network to verify their privacy settings to control what information can be viewed publicly and to tighten account security with two-factor authentication.
This is not the first time that leaks or use of data from the world’s largest social network, with nearly two billion users, has engulfed Facebook in controversy.
In 2016, a scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica, a British consultancy that used the personal data of millions of Facebook users to target political ads, overshadowed the social network and its handling of private information.