A new investigation has found that third-party apps exposed 540 million records of Facebook user's passwords, comments, account names, likes, and unique Facebook identifiers for all to see. "We are committed to working with the developers on our platform to protect people's data", the spokesperson added.
The latest breach reminds of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, where personal data of millions of users collected by the firm through a quiz app on Facebook was used to potentially swing voters in the USA elections in 2016 and other campaigns.
As with the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal, this isn't a case of Facebook itself being compromised.
In response to public concern for privacy, Facebook started an audit of thousands of apps and suspended hundreds of them previous year to ensure information was not stored unsecured in public databases.
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UpGuard say they reached out to Cultura Colectiva back in January and, as of posting, have still received no response. Although that exposed the details of only 22,000 Facebook users, the exposed data also included plain-text passwords.
Similarly to the data exposed by Cultura Colectiva, At the Pool's data was exposed for an indeterminant amount of time but the stored data became secured while it was being viewed by UpGuard's team.
The second database, belonging to the defunct app At The Pool isn't as large, but its destructive potential can not be neglected.
And more recently, security experts noticed that Facebook allows other users to look up your profile using those numbers, too. Moreover, UpGuard researchers claim that these are only two of the databases that they have reported about and the extent of data exposure could be far more extensive since about 100,000 databases are hosted by Amazon.
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Brian Vecci, a top executive at the security firm Varonis recommends that consumers check which apps are now collecting data from their accounts and revoke access for those that don't need it. They also informed Amazon Web Services about the data stored and they replied that the owner was made aware of the expose. "Once alerted to the issue", when Bloomberg initially broke the story, "we worked with Amazon to take down the databases".
On the plus side, data stemming from At the Pool was taken offline before security researchers could even send a formal notification. The company's website says it creates content through data and technology and has more than 45 million followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.
To be clear, the 540 million records found in the larger of the two data sets does not translate to 540 million Facebook users.
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