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|Facebook’s exposed server held the data of more than 419 million accounts from across the globe|
According to US-based newswire Techcrunch, Facebook’s exposed server contained more than 419 million records over several databases on users from various parts of the world, including one that contained records of 133 million users from the US, another with 18 million from the UK, and another containing the data of more than 50 million users in Vietnam.
Each record contains a user’s unique Facebook ID and the phone number tied to the account as well as gender and location, and other important data. A user’s Facebook ID is typically long, unique, and can be easily used to find the account in question.
According to Techcrunch, anyone could find and access the database because the server was unprotected with a password.
The US-based newswire verified a number of records in the database by matching a known Facebook user’s phone number against their listed Facebook ID. It also checked other records by matching phone numbers against Facebook’s own password reset feature, which can be used to partially reveal a user’s phone number linked to their accounts.
Many experts stated that the data leaks have been putting Facebook users at risk of being spammed, receiving anonymous telephone calls, or even blackmail. In addition, hackers could use telephone numbers and related private data to reset users’ passwords.
Despite that, Facebook spokesperson Jay Nancarrow affirmed that there was “no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised.”
“This data set is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people’s ability to find others using their phone numbers,” said Nancarrow.
Accordingly, Facebook also committed to restricting developers' access to users’ phone numbers. However, the huge data leaks just last year are raising concerns about the social network’s denial.
According to The Guardian, a British political consultancy named Cambridge Analytica was allegedly mining the personal information of 50 million Facebook users to help its clients’ advertising campaigns, which shockingly included the firm’s latest client US President Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign.