Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse with Facebook, over 540 million Facebook user data records get compromised. Remember how Facebook promised to boost security? Facebook users have seen nothing of it. The breach happened as a result of third-party apps and sites that stored “the data” on unsecured servers, making it the most dangerous breach yet.
540 Million Facebook Accounts Exposed in Massive Data Breach
540 Million Facebook Accounts Exposed in Massive Data Breach – Time Line
Upguard, a cybersecurity company was the one that discovered and reported the massive data breach. According to Upguard, the company had alerted Cultura Colectiva and Amazon about the breaches from Cultura Colectiva back in January. Unfortunately, no one did anything until Wednesday morning. According to the company, just closing the breach was an absolute nightmare. This is the sequence in which Upguard reported the breach. This is what the company had to say:
“Our first notification email went out to Cultura Colectiva on January 10th, 2019. The second email to them went out on January 14th. To this day there has been no response. We then notified Amazon Web Services of the situation on January 28th. AWS sent a response on February 1st informing us that the bucket’s owner was made aware of the exposure. When February 21st rolled around and the data was still not secured, we again sent an email to Amazon Web Services. It was not until the morning of April 3rd, 2019, after Facebook was contacted by Bloomberg for comment, that the database backup […] was finally secured.”
About the Data Breach
Cultura Colectiva and The Pool, two third-party Facebook applications have stored 540 million Facebook user data on unsecured Amazon Web Services servers. Cultura Colectiva’s data included more than 540 million “comments, likes, reactions, account names, FB IDs and more” from Facebook users. While such data may seem harmless, as soon as it falls into the wrong hands, it poses a threat to users. Hackers and cybercriminals might blackmail data owners for their personal information in exchange for money.
The Pool, however, stored lesser data. But, that doesn’t make it any safer. In fact, the data that this application contains may be far more dangerous than the other. The application managed to store users’ names, email addresses, and other Facebook data. As a matter of fact, the data included 22,000 plaintext passwords. Researchers believe that these passwords were used for the app, not Facebook. But, anyone who uses the same password for multiple accounts is in deep trouble. This is why we constantly advise you to use unhackable passwords and provide you with what you need to know if your password gets hacked. The good news is that the breach doesn’t include those who haven’t been using the At The Pool or Cultura Colectiva apps.
How to Stay Safe Online
So, turns out, we have little control over what we choose to do with our data. Instead, we have big giant services, like Facebook that make these decisions on our behalf. While completely avoiding the process of data collection is impossible, there are ways you can minimize the damage and stay safe online. Here are some tips on what you can do.
As crazy and as difficult as it sounds, Facebook must go away. How many data breaches is it going to take before you realize that Facebook is not a secure place you want to be associated with. With the increase in data breaches and suspicious activities surfacing every now and then, more users are wondering whether this service is really worth it.
Avoid using Third-party Facebook Apps
If you don’t want to be one of those breach victims who got their private data showing up on unsecured servers, don’t use third-party apps on Facebook. These apps are just no good. They do nothing but collect your data on Facebook and then deliver it to third parties who might not be secure.
Cut down the Time You Spend on Facebook
This is pretty simple to do. The less time you spend on Facebook, the better. Bring your Facebook activity to the minimum. Remember, the less time you spend on the platform, the less they learn about you. It’s worth mentioning that you should never provide them with more information and data than they ask for.
540 Million Facebook Accounts Exposed – Final Thoughts
Do you have any idea what kind of data Facebook’s third-party apps collect and store about you? We bet you don’t because if you did you wouldn’t want to be a part of the Facebook community anymore. But, we get it. It’s tempting, it’s fun, and it’s the price you pay for an entertaining online experience. It doesn’t have to be that way if companies act fast and respond as quick as possible to ensure the protection of their users’ data. This breach as well as many others that have happened before like the exposure of 50 million Facebook user profile just prove how minimal control Facebook has over the manner in which your data is being used.