Data of 3.1m Facebook users compromised

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AMMAN — Personal information of 3.1 million Jordanian users were funneled from Facebook and now posted on an open-source platform. Phone numbers, names, location, emails and other personal information are now sitting online, a local digital rights group said.  اضافة اعلان

The original hack and leak occurred in 2019 when hackers exploited a gap in the social media giant security protocol. The data floated around for a few years but it was discovered earlier this week that it was put on an easy access hackers website, said Jordan Open Source Association’s director, Issa Mahasneh.

According to CNN, it was Alon Gal, CFO of Hudson Rock, who discovered the leak. The channel also reported that Mark Zuckerberg founder of Facebook had his phone number leaked. Users from 106 countries were affected, including 11 million from the UK, 39 million from Tunisia, and 28 million from Saudi Arabia.

Mahasneh pointed to what could come out of this.

“Actors with malign intentions could make use of this data for social engineering, fraud, and identity theft. People affected by the leak should expect scam calls, promotion SMSs, and spammers”, Mahasneh told Jordan News.

Shafiq Suifan, a cybersecurity researcher, agreed with Mahasneh but considered this incident to be “a breach of privacy rather than a security issue”.

“The information leaked could be correlated and used to identify individuals. It is a huge breach of privacy and it is available online at very low prices or totally free.” Suifan added.

“This data can be used for social engineering. It could be used to manipulate individuals and affect their decisions”, he added.

Suifan pointed that phishing emails and scam methods have not changed a lot in the past years.

“We all remember the Nigerian prince scam; today we are looking at some things associated with Netflix, and WhatsApp. Today, we are seeing those methods re-engineered. Emails and messages mimic the authentic ones and sometimes people fall for it”, he added.

“Some users just give away their data, offering them on a silver plate. Some users still use their mobile numbers as passwords, or their data of birth, sometimes the password is 123456,” said Suifan.

Both experts agreed that there is not much that can be done now. However, they stressed that users “must remain vigilant and on alert”, as they believe that the data leaked could be mean that users will be targeted by scammers and spam.

“The leak did not include passwords, but it would be wise to revisit the privacy settings, and as a drastic measure, change your phone number,” concluded Mahasneh.

According to the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission Jordan has 7 million WhatsApp users, 5.5 million users of Facebook, 2.75 million of Snapchat, 2.7 million of Instagram, 1.1 million of Linked In and 489 thousand Twitter users.