In early April 2021, news broke that personal data of over 533 million Facebook users was leaked online. The data includes phone numbers, email addresses, birthdates, and other sensitive information. The breach has raised concerns over user privacy and Facebook’s ability to secure user data. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what happened and how you can protect yourself.
The leaked data was first discovered by Alon Gal, co-founder and CTO of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock. Gal shared a tweet on April 3, 2021, alerting the public of the data breach. The data was made available on a hacking forum and was being sold for a price. The data included information from users in over 100 countries, including 32 million records from the United States, 11 million from the UK, and 6 million from India.
According to Gal, the data was likely obtained through a vulnerability in Facebook’s “contact importer” feature, which allows users to find and connect with their contacts on Facebook. The vulnerability was first discovered and fixed by Facebook in 2019, but it seems that the data was collected before the fix was implemented.
How to Check if Your Data Was Affected?
If you’re worried that your personal information may have been part of the breach, there are a few steps you can take. First, you can use a website like Have I Been Pwned to check if your email address or phone number has been involved in any data breaches. You can also use the Facebook Help Center to check if your information has been leaked. Facebook has a tool that allows users to see if their data was part of the breach, but it’s only available for certain regions.
How to Protect Yourself?
If your data was part of the Facebook data breach, there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself. First, change your passwords for all online accounts, especially those that use the same password as your Facebook account. Use a strong and unique password that includes a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
You can also enable two-factor authentication (2FA) on your online accounts. 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring a code in addition to your password to log in. You can use an authenticator app or a security key to generate the code.
Be cautious of phishing emails or text messages that may try to trick you into giving away personal information. Always check the sender’s email address or phone number and avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources.
The Facebook 533 million data breach has once again highlighted the importance of protecting personal information online. While we can’t control how companies secure our data, we can take steps to protect ourselves. By using strong passwords, enabling 2FA, and being cautious of phishing attempts, we can reduce the risk of our personal information being compromised. Remember to regularly check if your information has been involved in any data breaches and take action to protect yourself if needed.