According to an internet source, 1.5 billion Facebook users’ personal information was discovered on a hacker forum for sale. The news comes only days after Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp had a nearly seven-hour shutdown.
Users’ personal data has been put up for sale on a Hacker forum, according to Privacy Affairs, a privacy research firm. The data for sale was reportedly scraped from publicly available data given by Facebook users, rather than being stolen through a data breach.
The two instances, however, are unconnected. According to Privacy Affairs, the data that was discovered online for sale does not suggest that a hacker hacked into the system, but was apparently obtained by skimming publicly available data. Names, email addresses, localities, gender, phone numbers, and Facebook User ID information were among the information taken.
Scraping is the process of gathering publically accessible user information and organizing it into databases and lists. Hackers can also scrape data by providing users with online quizzes and trivia that ask them to provide their personal information. Hackers can utilise this information to delve further into a user’s profile in order to defraud them.
Miklos Zoltan, CEO and Privacy Affairs Founder said, ‘’Every time someone enters one of these surveys or quizzes, they permit the creators of these games to view their Personal Facebook information and more.”
According to reports, once Facebook submitted a takedown request, the message was removed from the hacker forum. The hacker was mentioned in the study paper as saying that the data was acquired with the aid of a four-year-old scraping company. Some samples purchased by others were validated in the study. However, other customers claimed that after paying the vendor, they did not get any data. This sparked discussion about whether the hacker was a part of a large-scale hoax or if it was even real. As a result of the post being removed from the hacker forum, no Facebook user data is now for sale. If users wish to prevent being hacked, they must make sure their Facebook accounts are not set to public.