Personal details of 61 lakh Indian Facebook users leaked online

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Personal details such as phone numbers of around 6.1 million (61 lakh) Indians on Facebook have allegedly been leaked online and posted on hacking forums, according to a cybersecurity executive.

According to Alon Gal, co-founder and chief technical officer of cybersecurity firm Hudson Rock, personal data of 533 million Facebook users globally – including names, phone numbers and other details – was allegedly leaked online and posted for free on hacking forums.

“All 533,000,000 Facebook records were just leaked for free. This means that if you have a Facebook account, it is extremely likely the phone number used for the account was leaked,” Gal has said in a tweet flagging the issue.

A list of countries that was shared in the tweet, showed that information of 6.1 million users from India, 32.3 million from the US, 11.5 million from the UK and 7.3 million from Australia, was part of the leaked data.

When contacted, a Facebook company spokesperson said: “This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019”.

Gal said in early 2020, a vulnerability – which enabled seeing the phone number linked to every Facebook account – was exploited, creating a database containing the information of 533 million users across all countries.

He added that details include phone number, Facebook ID and full name and “bad actors will certainly use the information for social engineering, scamming, hacking and marketing”.

In the past too, Facebook – which had 2.80 billion monthly active users (MUAs) as of December 31, 2020 – has faced challenges around data security.