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Everything you need to learn about the Facebook data flow

The news: The personal data of 533 million Facebook users in more than 106 countries was found to be freely available online last weekend. The data trove, uncovered by security researcher Alon Gal, includes phone numbers, email addresses, hometowns, full names, and birth dates. Initially, Facebook claimed that the data leak was previously reported on in 2019…

The information: The private data of 533 million Facebook consumers at more than 106 nations was shown to be freely available online . The information trove, uncovered by security researcher Alon Gal, includes telephone numbers, email addresses, hometowns, full names, and birth dates. Initially, Facebook claimed the data leak was previously reported on in 2019 and it had patched the vulnerability that caused it August. But in fact, it seems that Facebook did not properly disclose the breach at the moment. The company finally acknowledged it on Tuesday, April 6, in a blog post byproduct management director Mike Clark.

How it happened:  In the blog article, Clark said that Facebook believes the information was scraped from people’s profiles by”malicious actors” with its contact importer instrument, which utilizes people’s contact lists to assist them find friends on Facebook. It isn’t clear exactly when the information was scraped, but Facebook says it was”prior to September 2019.” One complicating factor is that it is very normal for cyber criminals to combine unique data sets and sell them off in various chunks, also Facebook has had many distinct data breaches over the years (most famously the Cambridge Analytica scandal).

Why the time consuming matters:  The General Data Protection Regulation came into force in European Union nations in May 2018. Whether this breach happened after that, Facebook could be liable for fines and enforcement action because it failed to disclose the violation to the relevant regulators in 72 hours, as the GDPR stipulates. Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is exploring the breach. In the US, Facebook signed a deal a couple of decades back  that gave it immunity against Federal Trade Commission fines for breaches earlier June 2019, so if the information was stolen after that, it could face action there too.

How to check if you’ve been affected: Although passwords weren’t leaked, scammers could still utilize the data for spam emails or robocalls. If you would like to find out if you’re in danger, visit haveibeenpwned.com and check if your email address or telephone number have been breached.  

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