Facebook’s latest data breach exposed more than 540 million user records

Facebook’s latest data breach exposed more than 540 million user records

Discovered by security researchers at UpGuard Inc. and revealed Wednesday, the main data exposure came via a Mexico-based media company Cultura Colectiva and included Facebook user names, comments, likes, reactions, account names and more. Prior to the new data access policies, Facebook freely shared data with other companies, even creating the platform Open Graph in 2010 to share data with third party sites. The passwords are presumably for the "At the Pool" app rather than for the user's Facebook account, but would put users at risk who have reused the same password across accounts. The other set has been linked to a non-operational Facebook app named At the Pool and was much smaller with just 22,000 records. But the problem of stored data doesn't go away once it's left Facebook.

We're talking about 540 million Facebook users with exposed information free for the taking.

The information about Facebook users, though they might not be as sensitive as their Social Security Numbers, could expose their interests, relationships and interactions to third-party developers, the cybersecurity firm said.

Facebook is right to be a little sensitive after a number of privacy-related scandals.


Data about Facebook users has been spread far beyond the bounds of what Facebook can control today. However, despite having been notified on January 10, it took until April 3 for the larger dataset to be secured.

Whether these third parties actually comply is a contractual matter with Facebook and the user's whose data is compromised have no say in the matter.

"The public doesn't realize yet that these high-level systems administrators and developers, the people that are custodians of this data, they are being either risky or lazy or cutting corners", said Chris Vickery, director of cyber risk research at UpGuard.

Many security experts are of the view that, in the light of the frequent cybersecurity lapses, Facebook does not have a clear understanding of cybersecurity.


"The data genie can not be put back in the bottle".

"The surface area for protecting the data of Facebook users is thus vast and heterogeneous, and the responsibility for securing it lies with millions of app developers who have built on its platform". "Once alerted to the issue", when Bloomberg initially broke the story, "we worked with Amazon to take down the databases. We are committed to working with the developers on our platform to protect people's data", the spokesperson added. Facebook said there is no proof yet to demonstrate the data has been misused, however, that it was investigating.

In that case, the financial and reputational damage to Facebook might prompt them to ensure the companies they do business with are held to their own security standards.


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