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Facebook exposed telephone numbers in huge data leak

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There’s been yet another data leak that’s hit the social media giant. It’s reported that Facebook exposed telephone numbers for millions of users, including those in the UK.

This latest data leak comes after a long line of breaches and incidents that have plagued the social media giant over the last few years. It also comes after increased scrutiny from regulators around the world over things like their data sharing policies, with the Cambridge Analytica scandal still fresh on our minds.

Although Facebook appears to be trying to play down the scale of the leak, there’s no argument as to how serious this incident is.

Facebook exposed telephone numbers in the millions

In this latest data leak, Facebook exposed telephone numbers for millions of users worldwide. The information was found on a server without a password by a security researcher, and reportedly had around 419 million entries.

It’s understood that some 18 million of the entries related to UK users. Facebook has reportedly stated that data was duplicated, so they estimate that the actual number of affected users could be less than half. But this is still roughly over 200 million, with potentially at least 9 million of those users here in the UK.

As well as telephone numbers linked to accounts, Facebook User IDs were also with the data that was found. In some cases, it’s reported that there was also additional information which may have included Usernames, genders, and locations by country. This means that people could have been easily identified from the information that has been exposed in the data leak.

Risks for victims

Facebook exposed telephone numbers as well as User Ids, so victims of the data leak could have been at a serious risk of being targeted by criminals.

Facebook has been playing down the potential impact by saying that they have no evidence to suggest that accounts have been compromised. However, that doesn’t mean that the leaked data hasn’t already been found by someone with sinister intentions before it was taken down.

Will there be a GDPR fine?

There may already be GDPR fines to be issued over previous incidents, but the fact that Facebook exposed telephone numbers for millions of people, and in circumstances that were easily preventable, there could be a hefty fine imposed.

We’ve already seen the power of the GDPR fines so far, with the initial proposed fine for British Airways standing at £183m, and the initial proposed fine for Marriott set at £99m.

With maximum fines that can total up to 4% of a company’s annual global turnover, a social media giant like Facebook could incur monumental fines for breaches of the law.

IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.

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First published by Author on September 06, 2019
Posted in the following categories: Cybersecurity GDPR Latest Security Social Networking and tagged with | | | | | | |

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