Millions of Facebook user records exposed on Amazon cloud server

540 Mllion Facebook Records Leaked by Public Amazon S3 Buckets

One, originating from the Mexico-based media company Cultura Colectiva, weighs in at 146 gigabytes and contains over 540 million records detailing comments, likes, reactions, account names, FB IDs and more.

After a series of inadvertent exposures of information stored on AWS's Simple Storage Service in recent years, the company made it more hard for its customers to make data public facing in the first place, peppering the service with warning notices when something is exposed, and giving administrators easier options to shut down open databases. In this dataset, there are email IDs and passwords of almost 22,000 Facebook users stored.

UpGuard noted that it also found a database backup for a Facebook-integrated app called "At the Pool", which contained passwords for 22,000 users of the app. This shows that there have been little efforts from Facebook in ensuring foolproof security of the data that it extracts from its users.

Both the At the Pool app and its developers have also been out of operation since at least 2014 but that any users who had the same password across services and haven't changed that in the meantime may be vulnerable.

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

While it ultimately falls on everyone who handles or stores sensitive data to protect that data, "if your organization is the source of the data you have a duty to your users to protect their information as its shared".

It was not until the morning of 3 April after Facebook was contacted by Bloomberg for comment, that the database backup, inside an AWS S3 storage bucket titled "cc-datalake", was finally secured.

"The public doesn't realise yet that these high-level system administrators and developers, the people that are custodians of this data, they are being either risky or lazy cutting corners". But as these exposures show, the data genie can not be put back in the bottle, ' the company explains.

For many years, Facebook allowed all app developers to have access to information on anyone using their app as well as access to data on users' friends. "Once alerted to the issue, we worked with Amazon to take down the databases".

Even though it is "passively" responsible, these millions of data exposed turn out to be not directly Facebook's fault. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is said to be looking to levy a record fine against the company for violating an earlier data privacy agreement. For app developers on Facebook, part of the platform's appeal is access to some slice of the data generated by and about Facebook users.

This however, is a standard Facebook response to most such breaches.

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