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  • Writer's pictureMaddie Cohen

Insights into the Facebook Data Breach that Affected 553 Million People

Oh, Facebook: the platform so many of us love to hate.

We won’t dive into the details here—aside from the incident that took place on Saturday, April 3.

The Latest on the April 2021 Facebook Data Breach

My boyfriend and I met when people our age still used Facebook on a near-daily basis, posting the biweekly photo, checking in publicly on friends’ timelines, and wishing everyone and their literal mother a happy birthday.

Neither one of us uses the platform much anymore, but we were looking into something over the weekend.

I don’t remember what, exactly.

Something a former acquaintance posted, maybe?

An unsettling photo from high school, more likely?

I don’t remember the specifics because we were almost immediately distracted: W noticed someone had messed with his near-defunct account! Someone had changed his backup email, tried to mess with his password—the works.

It was then that we learned a low-level hacking scheme had taken place, resulting in the publication of hundreds of millions of users’ phone numbers and personal data.


How Did the Facebook Data Breach Occur?

In 2020, Facebook made a number of changes to prevent users’ personal information from being scraped from their profiles.

But it was too late.

In the recent breach, the user data was allegedly scraped from an “Add Friend” vulnerability that the social media site initially patched in 2019.

Fast-forward a couple years, and approximately 553 million users from 106 countries were affected—including 32 million Americans. The data dump included users’ phone numbers, full names, locations, birthdates, Facebook IDs, and a number of email addresses.

Think Your Data Was Compromised in the Hack?

To see whether your data was involved in the breach, you may want to check the HaveIBeenPwned project, which collects and analyzes info involving billions of leaked accounts.

Facebook users can simply type in their email address or cell phone number (internationally formatted, starting with a +1 for U.S. numbers) and see whether they were involved in the hack.

The project doesn’t show you any data, but it does let you know whether your data was compromised.

Turns out, W did in fact fall victim to the latest Facebook breach. Fun!

Lesson learned. We’re thinking of taking our personal phone numbers off our social media accounts from here on out.

Have questions about the Facebook data breach—or about hacking in general? Please share your thoughts in the comments below, or contact us to learn more about what Umbrella Security Services can do for your business.

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