Home News Phone Numbers of 533 Mn Facebook Users on Sale via Telegram Bot

Phone Numbers of 533 Mn Facebook Users on Sale via Telegram Bot

Over 533 million Facebook users’ phone numbers from 100+ countries are being sold via a Telegram bot for $20 per record.

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Facebook’s nearly 533 million users from over 100 countries are at risk of being targets of malicious activities. A vulnerability discovered earlier allowed a notorious threat actor to create a database of Facebook users along with their phone numbers, which are now being sold on Telegram via a bot. The security researcher Alon Gal, who made this finding public on his Twitter handle, highlighted that this has a “huge impact on privacy.”

Not the First Time

In 2019, Facebook was marred with a similar incident where it exposed 419 million records from across the globe. It included users’ unique Facebook IDs and phone numbers linked to their accounts. It was due to a lapse in Facebook’s security since no password-protection was provided to the said database, which the social media giant fixed later. However, a Guardian report stated that Facebook was trying to downplay the impact of the breach considering the socio-political pressure it was under, especially from the EU post the Cambridge Analytica spill-out.

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Gal claimed the same in the latest incident. He stated that the database was compiled by the Telegram bot operator in early 2020 when a vulnerability was discovered by security researchers that exposed the phone numbers of Facebook users. The said vulnerability no longer exists because it was patched by Facebook, but it could be downplaying the actual extent of the number of affected users since there is a growing discontent against the social media giant’s data-sharing privacy policy, which it has currently put on hold.

The Telegram Bot

The threat actor who compiled this database has only come to the reckoning because of a Telegram bot. This bot allows users to input a query to its database for a minimal fee of $20. According to an interview given to Motherboard, Gal said the threat actor also had a bulk offer running where 10,000 credits were being offered for $5,000. Interested people can pay the sum and either input a Facebook ID or the phone number to find details.

It is worth noting that not all phone numbers might be valid since these were collected almost a year ago; however, since people do not change mobile phone numbers often, a large portion of these Facebook users are still vulnerable.

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