Hundreds of millions of Facebook users’ phone numbers were exposed in an open online database, the company confirmed Wednesday, in the latest example of Facebook’s past privacy lapses coming back to haunt its users.
A researcher has found several databases stored on an unprotected server that held personal information – mostly phone numbers – of hundreds of millions of Facebook users. While the company argues the data is over a year old, it doesn’t change the fact that it is a big privacy breach. The person who collected that information and their motivations behind it are nebulous.
According to the technology website, TechCrunch more than 400m Facebook IDs and phone numbers were stored in an online server without any type of protection. The dataset included about 133m records for users in the US, 18m records for users in the UK and 50m records for users in Vietnam.
Its a devastating news for the facebook, especially after Mark Zuckerberg, outlined Facebook’s “privacy-focused” future earlier this year.
This type of dataset can be used for various nefarious intentions as skilled attackers can often leverage a mobile phone number and information gained through social media sites to persuade mobile phone carriers to transfer a target’s phone number to a different phone.