Personal data for 533 million Facebook users leaks on the web

It had been circulating privately since January.

Tim Bennett on Unsplash

Hackers were reportedly sharing a massive amount of personal Facebook data in January, and now that data appears to have escaped into the wild. According to Business Insider, security researcher Alon Gal has discovered that a user on a hacking forum has made the entire dataset public, exposing details for about 533 million Facebook members. The data includes phone numbers, birth dates, email addresses and locations, among other revealing info.

About 32 million of the users are in the US, while 11 million are from the UK and another 6 million come from India.

Gal first spotted the data in January, when Telegram users could pay to search the database. The intruders reportedly took advantage of a flaw that Facebook fixed in August 2019 and reportedly includes information from before that fix. You might not be in trouble if you're a relative newcomer or have changed key details in the time since the fix, but the breach still leaves many people vulnerable.

We've asked Facebook for comment.

As Gal noted, Facebook can only do so much when the data is already in circulation and the related flaw is no longer an issue. The social network could notify affected users, though, and there's pressure on the company to alert affected users so they can watch for possible spam calls and fraud.