The data of 533 million Facebook users was offered for free on a hacker forum. Telephone numbers, full names, location and email information and other personal information have been posted by a user on that forum. They were already offered for sale in January. For the Netherlands, this would concern the data of more than 5 million Facebook accounts.
Cybercrime specialist Alon Gal announced this today. He already noted in January that it was a program offered with which telephone numbers of hundreds of millions of Facebook users could be generated for a small amount, something tech site Motherboard later confirmed.
Today, the complete dataset seems to have been left on the hacker forum for nothing. The forum is accessible to anyone who creates a profile. No passwords have been made public.
Facebook says in a response to tech site Business Insider that the data was collected by a vulnerability in the company’s software. That gap will be closed in 2019. According to Business Insider, who also spoke to Gal, you don’t need to be a computer expert to use the data. They can provide valuable information for cyber criminals who use people’s personal information to impersonate them or gain their trust.
“Malicious people certainly want to exploit a database of that size. They want to misuse the data to make hacking attempts,” Gal told the tech site. Phishing is also one of the risks of the leak.
It is not the first time that Facebook has gotten into trouble because of stolen data from its users. The most striking example is the data company Cambridge Analytica, which illegally obtained data from 50 million Facebook users.