Report: 533 million Facebook users’ personal information leaked following 2019 data breach

Facebook (Dreamstime/TNS)

Phone numbers and other personal information of more than 533 million Facebook users was leaked Saturday in a hacking forum following a 2019 data breach, according to a report from Business Insider.

Business Insider reported that users spanning 106 countries, including potentially 32 million users in the U.S. alone, were affected by the leak.

The leak was first detected in January, after a security vulnerability corrected by Facebook in 2019 allowed hackers to scrape information from the social media platform. Vice reported on the leak at the time, and noted that the records scraped by the hacker were dated by several years.

A hacking forum user had been selling access to the database via an automated Telegram account, according to Vice. Accessing the database meant anyone who paid a fee could search for a user’s phone number — provided the user had linked it prior to August 2019 — using a Facebook ID, or search using a phone number to find a Facebook ID.

Saturday’s forum leak was of the entire database, in full, for free, and it also includes full names, birthdays and email addresses in some instances, according to Business Insider.

Alon Gal, co-founder and CTO of cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock, uncovered the leaked trove of personal information on Saturday.

“This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked,” Gal wrote on Twitter, alongside screenshots from the forum post. “Bad actors will certainly use the information for social engineering, scamming, hacking and marketing.”

The reported 533 million users affected by the leak constitutes nearly a fifth of Facebook’s userbase of 2.8 billion accounts.


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