Face­book data is breached

Antelope Valley Press - - Business - By FRANK BAJAK AP Tech­nol­ogy Writer

A Ukrainian se­cu­rity re­searcher re­ported find­ing a data­base with the names, phone num­bers and unique user IDs of more than 267 mil­lion Face­book users — nearly all U.S.-based — on the open in­ter­net. That data was likely har­vested by crim­i­nals, said re­searcher Bob Di­achenko, an in­de­pen­dent se­cu­rity con­sul­tant in Kyiv.

The data­base, which Di­achenko dis­cov­ered with a search en­gine, was freely ac­ces­si­ble on­line for at least 10 days be­gin­ning Dec. 4, he said. He no­ti­fied the in­ter­net provider where it was hosted when he found it on Dec. 14; five days later it was no longer avail­able.

Di­achenko said some­one down­loaded the data­base to a hacker fo­rum two days be­fore he dis­cov­ered it so it may have been shared among on­line thieves.

He first re­ported the find­ing Thurs­day in part­ner­ship with the U.K. tech news web­site Com­par­itech, which edi­tor Paul Bischoff said has been help­ing write up Di­achenko’s discoverie­s of un­se­cured data­bases for about a year.

The re­searcher pro­vided the AP with a 10-record sam­ple from the data­base and the IDs — and two phone num­bers that were an­swered — checked out against real Face­book users.

The ev­i­dence sug­gests the data was col­lected il­le­gally, most likely by crim­i­nals in Viet­nam who may have “scraped” it from pub­lic Face­book pages or by some­how ob­tain­ing priv­i­leged ac­cess to the ser­vice. Scrap­ing is au­to­mated data-har­vest­ing done by bots. A small frac­tion of the data­base in­clude de­tails on Viet­nam-based users.

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