Facebook acknowledges personal information of 500M users posted online, says data is ‘old’

This March 29, 2018 file photo, shows logo for social media giant Facebook at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Richard Drew. Richard Drew/AP/The Canadian Press

The phone numbers and personal data of more than 500 million Facebook users has been posted online by a low-level hacker in a forum for free.

Alon Gal, CTO of Hudson Rock, a cybercrime intelligence firm first discovered the leak on Saturday.

“All 533,000,000 Facebook records were just leaked for free,” he wrote in a tweet. “This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for that account was leaked.”

Facebook acknowledged the news in an emailed statement Saturday afternoon, but said the data was obtained during a breach in 2019.
Story continues below advertisement
“This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We found and fixed this issue in August 2019.”
Click to play video: 'Big Tech CEOs testify on spread of misinformation, extremism online before Congress'
Big Tech CEOs testify on spread of misinformation, extremism online before Congress

However, according to Gal, the vulnerability allowed hackers to see the phone numbers and other personal information of Facebook users.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world sent to your email, as it happens.

“It was severely under-reported and today the database became much more worrisome,” he wrote.

By Gal’s count, 3,494,385 users in Canada were affected.

Global News has not independently verified the number of Canadian accounts affected.

Global News has reached out to Facebook to confirm how many accounts have been affected in Canada and to determine how the company is handling the leak, but did not immediately hear back.

However, Gal said user’s phone numbers, full names, locations, birthdate, email addresses, and relationship status are among the details leaked.

Story continues below advertisement
Click to play video: 'Why Facebook banned news in Australia'
Why Facebook banned news in Australia

“Bad actors will certainly use the information for social engineering, scamming, hacking and marketing,” he wrote.

Sponsored content