m3n4.net April 21, 2019

Facebook Revealed to Have Exposed Millions of Private Records on Amazon Servers

06 April 2019, 12:41 | Vera Richards

540 million Facebook users had their data leaked by app developers

540 Mllion Facebook Records Leaked by Public Amazon S3 Buckets

The social network has launched an investigation to determine whether the data was used maliciously, after it was found to contain account names, Facebook IDs, comments, likes, reactions and, in a number of cases, passwords.

The At the Pool Amazon bucket found by UpGuard contained data on 22,000 Facebook users, including their Facebook user ID, likes, friends, photos, groups and interests.

The records allegedly stored by Facebook partners contained data were mostly non-sensitive.

Facebook has been dropping the ball lately, big time.

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This is not Facebook's first leak in 2019 by any stretch of the imagination despite changes to the company's current practices and efforts it has made since the Cambridge Analytica scandal to clean up third-party data collection. UpGuard said they told Cultura Colectiva about the uprotected stash on January 10 and January 14, and told Amazon server admins on February 1 and February 21.

Data from a different third-party app called "At the pool", which was integrated into Facebook, was also left unexposed as well on Amazon's servers. Facebook now offers rewards for researchers who find problems with its third-party apps.

"Data about Facebook users has been spread far beyond the bounds of what Facebook can control today", they said in the blogpost.

As a quick refresher, Facebook's security woes are coming in semi-frequently now.

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While there are bad actors out there who will expose private information and account records intentionally, both of these incidents appear to be accidental. There is nearly certainly tons more Facebook data stored on Amazon web servers, only with protection.

Bloomberg notified Facebook about the presence of this dataset and the company immediately removed it from Amazon's servers. UpGuard doesn't know how long they were exposed, as the database became inaccessible while the company was looking into it. When it didn't receive a response, it emailed Amazon Web Services (AWS) on January 28 and then again on February 21, as the data remained accessible.

Brian Vecci, a top executive at the security firm Varonis recommends that consumers check which apps are now collecting data from their accounts and revoke access for those that don't need it.

On the plus side, data stemming from At the Pool was taken offline before security researchers could even send a formal notification. While Facebook themselves have not compromised this data, they have allowed it to be freely obtained by companies with lax security measures.

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Facebook has said the data was initially collected by a professor for academic purposes in line with its rules, CNN reported.

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