An exposed server stored 419 million records on users across several databases Photo: AFP/File
tech

400 mil Facebook users' phone numbers exposed in privacy lapse: reports

11 Comments
By Alastair Pike

Phone numbers linked to more than 400 million Facebook accounts were listed online in the latest privacy lapse for the social media giant, US media reported Wednesday.

An exposed server stored 419 million records on users across several databases -- including 133 million US accounts, more than 50 million in Vietnam, and 18 million in Britain, according to technology news site TechCruch.

The databases listed Facebook user IDs -- unique digits attached to each account -- the profiles' phone numbers, as well as the gender listed by some accounts and their geographical locations, technology website TechCrunch reported.

The server was not password protected, meaning anyone could access the databases, and remained online until late Wednesday when TechCrunch contacted the site's host.

Facebook confirmed parts of the report but downplayed the extent of the exposure, saying that the number of accounts so far confirmed was around half of the reported 419 million.

It added that many of the entries were duplicates and that the data was old.

"The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised," a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.

Following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal, when a firm used Facebook's lax privacy settings to access millions of users' personal details, the company disabled a feature that allowed users to search the platform by phone numbers.

The exposure of a user's phone number leaves them vulnerable to spam calls, SIM-swapping -- as recently happened to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey -- with hackers able to force-reset the passwords of the compromised accounts.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

11 Comments
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We cannot trust big tech either with our security or freedom of speech. They don't care about us, only profit, and will sell us out, deceive us, and shaft us at the drop of a hat.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

We cannot trust big tech either with our security or freedom of speech. They don't care about us, only profit, and will sell us out, deceive us, and shaft us at the drop of a hat.

Thats a blanket statement that can be easily disproven. Apple is actually very heavily focused on consumer privacy. That’s why they refused to help the FBI get into the San Bernardino killers’ iPhones. I trust Apple is focused on my privacy and security, and other unbiased evaluations support that.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

I hope somebody calls me. I'm lonely.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Phone numbers is the least of it.  Regular FB users expose themselves in so many ways to abuse/leaking/hacking of data.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Facebook's user database is about as protected as a Windows XP computer running in 2019 with Internet Explorer 8 and no antivirus. For such a big tech "giant", their security and protection is laughable. I'm so glad I made the right choice and never messed with it.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Is anyone surprised? Facebook has always been lax on security. Never login to anything using Facebook, open Facebook in an incognito window or better a completley different browser or in Firefox in a Facebook container and don't supply information you don't have to.

Don't install the Facebook app, use a browser.

Don't trust Facebook. Better still don't use it.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Caught with our pants down.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not a surprise.. With all these Facebook security flaws you would be willing to invest your money in the farce of the cryptocurrency Libra !!????..

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@Strangerland

Apple is actually very heavily focused on consumer privacy.

Apple sells user data to google. Furthermore, there is a current lawsuit that continues to build and will eventually become a class action suit because apple is also selling iTunes purchases and user data. Also, apple has said what makes what they do different is that they don’t disclose the names but makes the user data anonymous. It’s still selling user data.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Apple sells user data to google. Furthermore, there is a current lawsuit that continues to build and will eventually become a class action suit because apple is also selling iTunes purchases and user data. Also, apple has said what makes what they do different is that they don’t disclose the names but makes the user data anonymous. It’s still selling user data.

Ok, that still doesn't change anything I said earlier:

That’s why they refused to help the FBI get into the San Bernardino killers’ iPhones. I trust Apple is focused on my privacy and security, and other unbiased evaluations support that.

As I said, the original statement was a blanket statement.

For anyone interested in reading more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/talkingtech/2018/04/17/apple-make-simpler-download-your-privacy-data-year/521786002/

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

All the more reason NOT to "secure your Fakebook account" with a phone number. And keep your important information OFF all "social" media.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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