Published: Fri, April 05, 2019
Markets | By Erika Turner

Facebook can’t seem to keep their users’ information private, once again

Facebook can’t seem to keep their users’ information private, once again

Facebook has been hit by a number of privacy-related issues, with the latest being a glitch that exposed passwords of millions of users stored in readable format within its internal systems to its employees.

Those tech giants have built multibillion-dollar businesses by making it easy for companies to run applications and store troves of data, from corporate documents to employee information, on remote servers.

UpGuard say that the passwords are most likely for the At the Pool app rather than the user's Facebook account, but it would still put users at risk if they use the same password across many accounts.

The datasets have now been taken offline from the Amazon servers on which they were stored, but they were completely accessible by anyone while they were online. The company said it will inform users if they find evidence that the data was misused. "But as these exposures show, the data genie can not be put back in the bottle", UpGuard wrote in its blog post.

The info about users, though they might not be as sensitive as their Social Security Numbers, could expose their interests, relationships and interactions to third-party developers.

Vickery says that despite multiple attempts at contact the firm dating back to January 10, Cultura Colectiva did not respond or act on the exposed data, which was only taken down after Upguard's report went live.

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In addition, At the Pool's leaked database came with "fk_user_id, fb_user, fb_friends, fb_likes, fb_music, fb_movies, fb_books, fb_photos, fb_events, fb_groups, fb+checkins, fb_interests, and more" user data points.

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

If that isn't enough, UpGuard also discovered that there are still 100,000 public Amazon-hosted databases out there in the wild, so it's possible that, even beyond Facebook's slip up here, that there is even more publicly-available information out there.

"The real problem is that most of the data - reportedly shared by Facebook with its partners - still remains somewhere, with numerous uncontrolled backups and unauthorised copies, some of which are being sold on the black market already". Now the cybersecurity firm UpGuard's researchers have identified the presence of another unsecure Facebook database that has been publicly posted on the cloud servers powered by Amazon Web Services.

Hart also warned companies of collecting user data and sharing it with third parties in the age of GDPR.

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