What do the Facebook Data Leaks mean?

In April of 2021, it was reported that the data of over 533 million Facebook users was leaked online. The data was said to be circling the world wide web, and Facebook had no plausible reason for this major data leak. At the time the answers provided were rushed and inconsistent with the narrative.

Their initial response linked the data leaks to a vulnerability that happened back in 2019 but was assured that they have dealt with it. Though on closer inspection, that didn’t seem to be a satisfactory response.

The contents of the data leaked were private information such as ID numbers, email addresses, and even phone numbers. All of which was circling the drain in the dark corner of the web, alarming the entire platform users.

Was there any merit in Facebook’s statement of a vulnerability attack?

With multiple breaches in the past as well, the fact that they even addressed a flaw in the system that was exploited is a big deal. Giving a bit of credibility to their statements.

But what did the latest data leak even mean for Facebook users?

Data Leak:

The data was leaked by a low-level hacking firm on a public domain site, with the names, addresses, and phone numbers of millions of Facebook users around the globe, with most users pulled from the US and UK, among others.

Upon review, the validity of the data was also ensured. Meaning this was no scam, and that the data was real and pulled from millions of accounts.

Public Statement:

Facebook insiders stated that the data leak was caused by a system vulnerability that the platform had back in 2019, which has since been taken care of. The company ensures users that the anomaly was patched quickly. But in the meantime, the data on the site was made vulnerable and scraped by harmful sources.

The data was then published to a public domain site.

Vulnerable Users:

The reason why users were worried, and rightly so, was that their personal information was broadcasted for the world to see. Which could lead to hackers, scammers, and phishers taking hold of their private data to impersonate them or use their information to commit illegal fraud online.

These cybercriminals can wreak all kinds of havoc with the information provided to them and jeopardize millions in the process.

An example of this was an online forum that said they could provide automated phone numbers for them. All of which were taken from the data leaks.

Preventive Measures:

In cases such as this, it is also important to note that we have placed our data in a public platform that can be accessed by billions. And while any data leaks or hacking of personal information is in violation of Facebook’s terms and conditions. If the data leaks, it was because it was easily accessible in a person’s account.

That does not condone such an illegal act though. So for preventive measures, Facebook could see to alert their users if their data has been breached. As they would have the insider’s information way before the user ever finds out anyway. Giving them plenty of time to warn or notify the users.

Future Care:

Though the ball is in Facebook’s court and how they plan to update their security protocols in the future. There are some ways we can also protect ourselves from malicious criminals online.

We should steadily apply extensive password protection, as well as the Two-Factor Authentication method. We should also be wary of what data we share online. And in cases of unusual activities online, be sure to keep our end secure and updated.

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