540 million Facebook users had their data leaked by app developers

Oscar PerryApr 06, 2019

A 146GB data set with information like Facebook user activity, account names, and IDs was found that included more than 540 million records, the researchers said.

Social media platforms like Facebook are about trust, if users don't feel they can use them safely, we're going to see more people leave the platform.

Of the two data sets, the Cultura Collectiva is the largest; the At the Pool breach, meanwhile, is significantly smaller but contains plain-text passwords for some 22,000 user accounts - though, given the app was discontinued in 2014, these are likely to be outdated.

The report by UpGuard says "The data exposed in each of these sets would not exist without Facebook, yet these data sets are no longer under Facebook's control".

Facebook app developers reportedly left millions of user records exposed on the Amazon Cloud servers.

Since the Cambridge Analytica debacle previous year, Facebook has been embroiled in data breaches, and despite its acclaimed concentration on measures to be taken, it comes as no surprise that we are reading about another such data leak again.

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Two apps that Facebook allowed to access to its users' data stored personal information on insecure servers without putting security measures in place, according to Australian IT company UpGuard.

Facebook shut down the database in question after being contacted for a comment on the issue by Bloomberg.

It is also a punch in the eye for proponents of what many detractors call the "surveillance economy" where advertising and e-commerce is predicated on intelligence about users' every move and desire. "What ties them together is that they both contain data about Facebook users, describing their interests, relationships, and interactions, that were available to third party developers". "So we did not put our users' privacy and security at risk", the company added. UpGuard found 100,000 open Amazon-hosted databases for various types of data, some of which it expects aren't supposed to be public. The second was a separate database from a Facebook-integrated app named "At the Pool" which exposed data via an Amazon S3 bucket.

Upguard released a publication earlier this week claiming that the Mexico City-based startup stored Facebook user data on public servers without any protections.

Realizing that for the dead end it was, UpGuard instead reached out to Amazon on January 28th and received a reply on February 1st, which noted that the owner of the bucket had been made aware of the issue.

But when the researchers checked again on 21 February they discovered the data was still not secured, and an email was to Amazon Web Services.

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