Million Facebook User Records Exposed Online, Plus Passwords, Comments, And More

A person holds a smartphone with the Facebook logo in front of displayed

Upguard warned Facebook's previous privacy gaffes would continue to echo for all of us: "But as these exposures show, the data genie can not be put back in the bottle".

Security researchers have found two more Facebook databases just sitting idly on the open internet, available for anyone who knows where to look.

There is nearly certainly tons more Facebook data stored on Amazon web servers, only with protection. But the fact that there was so much of it, and that it seems to have been fairly easy to find, makes us wonder how much more Facebook user data there is floating in the cloud beyond Facebook's reach. "But as these exposures show, the data genie can not be put back in the bottle", UpGuard wrote in its blog post.

UpGuard said that the datasets vary in terms of when they were last updated, the data points present and the unique individuals in each. Cultura Colectiva never responded to the researchers' emails, and Amazon, despite receiving notifications from UpGuard about the leaky servers, did not take the leaky AWS server down, even if the data exposure was obvious.

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Totaling 146GB of leaked data, the first dataset came from a Mexican-based media company called Cultura Colectiva and contained records of user activity, such as comments, reactions, likes, friends list, interests, groups, checkins, events, music, movies, photos, and more, as well as account names and Facebook IDs.

Hundreds of millions of records on Facebook users were stored on public Amazon servers and available for anyone to download, a cybersecurity firm found.

It is not clear also if the data was misused by any party as we had seen in the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal.

At the same time, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has embarked on a wholesale reimagining of the way users interact with each other on the social-networking site - and the data the company collects.

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"All of the data passed from Facebook to literally millions of developers needs to be managed", said Greg Pollock, a vice president at UpGuard.

Researchers at security firm UpGuard discovered the two sets of data on Amazon's S3 storage servers without passwords, meaning anyone could access the files.

A Facebook spokesperson told TNW, "Once alerted to the issue, we worked with Amazon to take down the databases". The number of affected users is believed to be in the range of millions and tens of millions. The latter apparently includes 22,000 Facebook passwords and email addresses.

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