More than two years ago, reports found that hackers had stolen private information from more than 550 million Facebook users. Earlier this year, hackers started selling that data through an anonymous Telegram account to individuals who wanted to look people up. Those responsible reportedly charged $20 for a single lookup. Data such as phone numbers, birth date, email addresses, and locations was all on the menu.
Now, Business Insider reports that the hackers have made the database available to the public. That’s bad news for those who had their personal information compromised. Of course, at this point, there isn’t much left to do about it.
Unless you’re a critic of Facebook, that is. Many believe the social media company has a duty to inform those who were affected. It’s worth noting that it hasn’t done so despite the breach occurring several years ago.
No one would accuse Facebook of being too careful with user data. If anything, the firm has a poor track record of safeguarding its users’ personal information. From scandals like the one with Cambridge Analytica to data breaches like this one, the social media giant is no stranger to issues.
However, a data breach including more than 550 million users will always garner extra attention—as it should.
According to security researcher Alon Gal, hackers have posted the database from the breach on a popular hacking forum. Now that it is no longer on Telegram, the database is free and accessible to anyone.
Approximately 32 million of the affected users are from the U.S. while 35 million come from Italy, 29 million from Saudi Arabia, and a whopping 39 million are from Tunisia. That being said, users from more than 100 countries are affected.
More to Do?
According to security experts, the data breach occurred because of a flaw in Facebook’s infrastructure that has since been fixed. With that in mind, there isn’t much for the company to fix. It also means that new users and those who weren’t affected have nothing to worry about—at least not from this breach.
In the meantime, however, many are calling on Facebook to alert those who were affected. On Twitter, Gal said, “I have yet to see Facebook acknowledging this absolute negligence of your data.”
A notification would allow users to remain vigilant for things like spam calls and fraud. While this is something you should be doing anyway, knowing that your information is in the wrong hands allows you to keep your guard higher than usual.
Of course, those worried about having their personal information stolen in a data breach should probably avoid linking it to their social media accounts in the first place. This is the only way to guarantee that you won’t be affected by an attack like this one.