Mllion Facebook Records Leaked by Public Amazon S3 Buckets

Jermaine Castillo
April 5, 2019

The company stored a whopping 540 million records on Facebook users, totaling 146GB of data that included everything from comments and likes to account names and Facebook IDs.

However, the company has lost control over its most important asset -its users' data- which is now leaking left and right from all the no-name companies and mom-and-pop developer firms who've collected it over the past few years.

Hundreds of millions of Facebook user records - including some plain text passwords - were found exposed online free and open for the taking.

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According to the BBC, Facebook (the company) said that Cultura Colectiva's decision to store information about its Facebook (the social network) users outside of official Facebook (the platform) servers violated its terms of service. 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.

Facebook used to allow developers access data about information of people using the app and their friends but they stopped this recently.

Amazon did not respond to requests for comment. The data originated from third-party sources, namely a media company called Cultura Colectiva and an app titled "At the Pool".

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On the other hand, the At the Pool leak was taken offline while UpGuard were investigating the origin and before they could send an official email. "The data genie can not be put back in the bottle", reads the post. "We use that information to improve the users' experience on the internet, and also to generate content that will appeal to, engage, and inspire our audiences", the statement adds.

The exposure of Facebook's data also illustrated a hard reality: Once accessed or obtained, personal data can live forever. But the fact that there was so much of it, and that it seems to have been fairly easy to find, makes us wonder how much more Facebook user data there is floating in the cloud beyond Facebook's reach. The researchers said passwords stored for At the Pool were "presumably" for the app and not for Facebook.

It said no Facebook user passwords were found in the database backup of the app, which ceased operation in 2014. The company plans on notifying any affected users.

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Researchers at security firm UpGuard discovered the two sets of data on Amazon's S3 storage servers without passwords, meaning anyone could access the files.

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