Leak of 530 million accounts: Facebook denounces “malicious actors”

The hack resulted in the publication of millions of phone numbers, email addresses and dates of birth of Facebook users. French ministers are concerned.

The hacking of Facebook data of more than 530 million users, which was partly published on a hacker forum last weekend, is the act of“malicious actors”denounced Facebook on Tuesday April 6, which urges its members to better protect their accounts.

This data comes from a leak that dates back to 2019 and “has been resolved”, says Mike Clark, a director of the social network in a press release. He denounced the method ofscrapingor looting Facebook profiles via software mimicking the network’s functionality that helps members easily find friends and scrape contact lists.

How to know if his phone number is affected

“It must be understood that the malicious actors obtained this data not by hacking our systems but by looting it from our platform before September 2019”, says the head of Facebook. This practice “often relies on automated software to extract public information from the internet which can then be distributed on forums like this”he added.

Among the victims of this hack, whose phone number is listed in the database. At least four French ministers are also concerned.

To check if your phone number is affected by the leak, go to . The number must be entered in international format (+33 for France), removing the 0 from 06 or 07. This gives +336XXXXXX or +337XXXXXX. If the answer is “Oh no — pwned!” your phone number is in the hacked database.

Investigation by the Irish Cnil

The publication of these telephone numbers, addresses, dates of birth on a hacker forum was spotted on Saturday by the Business Insider site. “The data did not include financial or health information or passwords”assured Facebook who said to himself “convinced that the specific problem that allowed this data to be recovered in 2019 no longer exists”.

“While we cannot always prevent recirculation or the appearance of such datasets, we have a dedicated team that is focused on this work”adds the head of Facebook who urges users to regularly check their sharing settings for their pages. “We also recommend that users perform regular privacy checks (…) including who can see certain information on their profile and enable two-step authentication”advises the social network.

The Data Protection Commission (DPC), the Irish equivalent of the Cnil, . “Throughout the weekend, the DPC tried, and still tries, to establish the exact facts. The DPC has not received any proactive alerts from Facebook», Regrets the authority. The social network explains that it has remained silent because the data was captured by hackers between 2017 and 2018, i.e. before the implementation of the General Regulations for the Protection of Personal Data (RGPD), which obliges publishers to warn the European authorities in case of piracy. However, the DPC remains skeptical. “The recently released database [par les hackers] includes original data [piratées] in 2018, but also additional information that may have been obtained subsequently“. In this case, Facebook should have alerted the Irish Cnil.

This is not the first time that data from millions of users of the leading social network – which has nearly 2.8 billion monthly users – has come online. Revealed in 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal, a British firm that misappropriated the personal data of tens of millions of Facebook users for political propaganda purposes, had permanently tarnished the reputation of the social network on the issue of data confidentiality.

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