The personal data of over 267 million Facebook users could have come to the public from an online database, as cybersecurity experts said on December 19.
The following data are affected:
- Facebook IDs
- Phone numbers
What is the risk for affected Facebook users? Cyber criminals could use the information for spam, phishing emails, identity theft, or other malicious purposes.
Most of those affected are Facebook users from the USA. *
Who could have accessed the Facebook data?
The data was posted on an online forum for hackers, according to Bob Diachenko, the data security expert who discovered the unprotected database, and Comparitech, a technology website. The database did not require a password for about two weeks. *
According to Facebook, the database is no longer available.
What should I do if my data is affected?
Data breaches increase the chances of falling victim to cybercrime.
Disclosing names, Facebook IDs, and phone numbers can pose a variety of risks.
Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself.
- Change your Facebook privacy settings. By changing these settings, you can, for example, prevent your profile information from appearing in search results. *
- Watch out for spam messages. Cyber criminals can use your phone number to send messages in the event of attempted fraud, which could infect your device with malicious software through links in the message.
- Be wary of phishing emails. By knowing your data, fraudsters can trick you into opening e-mails or clicking on links that give a serious impression.
Should I consider making changes to my social media profiles?
The data breach on Facebook can serve as a reminder to always exercise caution with information shared on social media.
For example, it is a good idea to avoid having sensitive personal information that could be used for fraud or identity theft.