267 Million Facebook Users May Have Had Personal Information Exposed Online
More than 267 million Facebook users may have had their personal data exposed in an online database, cybersecurity researchers said December 19.
Here’s what information was exposed:
The risk for affected Facebook users? Cybercriminals could use the information for spam messaging, phishing email, identity theft, or other nefarious purposes.
Most of the people affected are U.S. Facebook users. *
Who could have accessed the Facebook data?
The data was posted to an online forum for hackers, according to Bob Diachenko, the data security researcher who found the unprotected database, and Comparitech, a tech website. The database required no password for about two weeks. *
Facebook said the database is no longer available. *
What should I do if my information was exposed?
Data breaches can increase the possibility of becoming a victim of cybercrime.
The exposure of names, Facebook IDs, and phone numbers could raise a variety of risks.
Here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself.
- Change your Facebook privacy settings. You can adjust settings, for example, to prevent your profile information from appearing in search results. *
- Watch for spam messaging. Cybercriminals can use your phone number to send messages tied to scams and with links that could infect your device with malicious software.
- Beware of phishing emails. Fraudsters may use your data to trick you into opening emails or clicking on links that may appear to be legitimate.
Should I consider changes to my social media profiles?
The Facebook data breach may be a reminder to be careful about what you share on social media platforms.
For instance, it’s a good idea to exclude sensitive personal information that could be used in scams or in identity theft.
It’s also smart to read a social platform’s privacy statements. You may be able to avoid having outside parties mine your data.
Cyber threats have evolved, and so have we.
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