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

Alexander Nix the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica which harvested the personal data of millions of Facebook users to allegedly influence potential voters around the world

Security researchers from UpGuard have found more than 540 million Facebook records exposed in a public database.

From the post, UpGuard Cyber Risk team were able to find two third party developed Facebook datasets that were exposed to the Internet. Researchers notified Cultura Colectiva and Amazon in January, but the data remained unsecured until Wednesday.

"Facebook is giving third-party app developers access to user data".

In the other incident, backup data from a Facebook-integrated app called "At the Pool", and contains, among other things, passwords for 22,000 users that were stored in plain text.

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 United States elections in 2016 and other campaigns.

And earlier a year ago, Facebook revealed that data on millions of users had been harvested by data science company Cambridge Analytica.

Responding to the discovery, a spokesperson said: "Facebook's policies prohibit storing Facebook information in a public database".

The revelations - first reported by Bloomberg - added to Facebook's mounting privacy woes, which have triggered numerous investigations around the globe.

Last month for example it admitted that "hundreds of millions" of passwords were stored on its internal server in plaintext, unprotected by any form of encryption whatsoever.

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The database also contained data on users' friends, likes, groups, and locations where they had checked in, said UpGuard. There is another database that belongs to At the Pool app, which isn't active anymore.

Cybersecurity expert Ilia Kolochenko, chief executive of online security firm High-Tech Bridge, said Facebook's problem was the amount of data it reportedly shared with third parties meant it was losing the ability to stop such leaks.

And more recently, security experts noticed that Facebook allows other users to look up your profile using those numbers, too.

"The data exposed in each of these sets would not exist without Facebook, yet these data sets are no longer under Facebook's control", the UpGuard researchers wrote.

The At the Pool data was taken offline before UpGuard even had a chance to send a notification email.

The Register has contacted Facebook in hopes of finding out what, if anything, it can do to wipe developer databases that are left open.

UpGuard found the data about the Facebook users as part of regular checks it carries out on Amazon S3 servers that have inadvertently exposed databases.

Fast forward to today and that S3 bucket was still publicly accessible.

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