Last week, it was revealed that over 500 million Facebook users had their personal data leaked online by hackers. For its part, Facebook said that it patched the issue in 2019. However, according to security researchers, Facebook had known about similar security vulnerabilities for years, and could’ve made a much stronger effort to prevent this large-scale leak.
These experts say that Facebook’s contact import tool is largely to blame, and that many other tech companies relying on similar features could also be exposed.
“I’m sure other companies are sweating as well now. It’s not just Facebook,” researcher Inti De Ceukelaire told WIRED. “But it’s a recurring theme for Facebook that whenever growth is at stake, they will think twice about fixing something to benefit the user’s privacy.”
Meanwhile, a former leader at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) thinks that Facebook is being careful about specifying exactly what happened because it could be legally liable for the data exposure.
“Given the way they’re trying to be so careful to indicate that they weren’t hacked, I think they are probably very mindful of the fact that they could be facing significant liability,” former FTC chief technologist Ashkan Soltani said.
Facebook has tried its hardest to downplay this latest privacy gaffe. However, it doesn’t seem like the social media giant will be able to sweep it under the rug — and that kind of accountability is a good thing for the long-term strength of its privacy policies.
The Choice of Tech Experts Worldwide. Try 90 days free of Bitdefender and experience the highest level of digital safety.
Surf the web truly incognito. Try Bitdefender Premium VPN, the ultra-fast VPN that keeps your online identity and activities safe from hackers, ISPs and snoops.