Experts and execs comment on Facebook data leak

Another huge Facebook security blunder exposes data of millions

Cybersecurity firm UpGuard this week reported two more cases of third-party app data exposure. The second, according to research firm UpGuard, came from a now-defunct integrated app called At the Pool and affected just 22,000 users, but contained much more sensitive data including plaintext passwords.

Breach notice: UpGuard first notified Cultura Colectiva - a platform for posts about celebs and culture - of the breach on January 10, and once again on January 14, but has not received a response until today.

"Facebook's policies prohibit storing Facebook information in a public database", the company was quoted by Reuters as saying.

It said no Facebook user passwords were found in the database backup of the app, which ceased operation in 2014.

While Facebook hadn't exposed any user passwords or other confidential information to these app developers, it does show that they are sending this data in an unencrypted manner to these developers rather than making use of some sort of private key encryption to allow app developers to work with this data. The sheer size of data set exposed could leave millions of users and information about them, exposed.

We're talking about 540 million Facebook users with exposed information free for the taking. Facebook's representative claims that they have taken the databases offline after being notified and now they are investigating the incident to identify how and for what duration the data was available on Amazon's servers.

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Added Upguard: "As Facebook faces scrutiny over its data stewardship practices, they have made efforts to reduce third party access".

Both data sets were found stored in an unsecured Amazon S3 bucket and could be accessed by virtually anyone.

Facebook is right to be a little sensitive after a number of privacy-related scandals.

The new finding is the latest to highlight Facebook's struggle to protect the data collected from its more than 2 billion users. "Once alerted to the issue, we worked with Amazon to take down the databases". But as these exposures show, the data genie can not be put back in the bottle, ' the company explains. Facebook said there is no proof yet to demonstrate the data has been misused, however, that it was investigating. "In each case, the Facebook platform facilitated the collection of data about individuals and its transfer to third parties, who became responsible for its security", explained UpGuard.

Social media platforms like Facebook are about trust, if users don't feel they can use them safely, we're going to see more people leave the platform. The data it stored included usernames and info on comments, likes and other user activity.

This is a serious security lapse on the part of Facebook.

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