It looks like Facebook couldn’t make it to the end of the year without at least one more privacy scandal. According to security researchers, more than 267 million Facebook users had their personal information exposed in a database online that anyone could access.
Some of the data that could be found included names, phone numbers and user IDs. The database (which has since been shut down) wasn’t even protected by a password or safeguard. And according to researcher Bob Diachenko and technology research firm Comparitech, which worked with Diachenko, the data was made available to download on a forum for hackers. Diachenko believes that criminals either exploited Facebook’s app developer interface or scraped the info from public profiles.
For its part, Facebook said it believes the data was stolen before it made changes to its privacy settings that better protected user info and restricted access to phone numbers.
“We are looking into this issue, but believe this is likely information obtained before changes we made in the past few years to better protect people’s information,” a Facebook spokesperson said after the database was shut down.
While this is obviously terrible news to the millions of users who had their information exposed to bad actors online, perhaps the worst part is that it isn’t shocking at all. By this point, Facebook has a well-deserved reputation for privacy mishaps, and stories like this one certainly aren’t helping its case.
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