According to an online report, publicly available data of 1.5 billion Facebook users was found for sale on a hacker forum. This case comes after a nearly 7-hour long outage by Facebook and its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp. However, both the incidents are unrelated. According to privacy research company Privacy Matters, the data that was found for the online sale did not indicate that a hacker had breached the system, but that the publicly available data was allegedly scrapped.
The stolen data includes names, email addresses, locations, genders, phone numbers and Facebook user ID details. Scraping means to capture publicly available user details and then organize them in databases and lists. Hackers can scrape data by presenting users with online quizzes and trivia that require users to fill in their personal details. Through this data, hackers can scan a user’s profile further and scam them.
Detail gathered with the help of four year old scrapping business
According to reports, the post has now been taken down from the hacker forum after Facebook sent a takedown request. The research article quoted the hacker as saying that the details were gathered with the help of a four-year-old scrapping business. The report confirmed some samples purchased by others. However, some buyers also said that they did not get any data despite making payment to the seller. This led to speculation as to whether the hacker was part of a larger-scale scam or if it was valid at all.
The post being removed from the hacker forum means that as of now, there is no Facebook user data available for sale. However, users will have to ensure that their Facebook profiles are not public if they want to avoid the hack.
In April, there was a massive leak of personal details of Facebook users
Earlier this year in April, a massive data breach leaked the personal details of 533 million Facebook users. The data included contact numbers, Facebook IDs, birthdays and more users. According to a report, personal details of more than 32 million users in the US, 11 million in the UK and more than 6 million users in India were exposed. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other co-founders Chris Hughes and Dustin Moskovitz were among the affected users.
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