SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook hacked: how to check if my personal data was leaked?

A group of hackers say they are offering information on more than 500 million Facebook Inc users - including phone numbers and other data - virtually for free.

Facebook hacked: how to check if my personal data was leaked?

A team of online hackers claim they are offering information on more than 500 million Facebook Inc users - including phone numbers and other data - virtually for free.

The database appears to be the same set of Facebook-linked telephone numbers that has been circulating in hacker circles since January and whose existence was first reported by tech publication Motherboard, according to Alon Gal, co-founder of Israeli cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock.

The information, which is being offered for a few euros' worth of digital credit on a well-known site for low-level hackers, but Gal said on Saturday that he had verified the authenticity of at least some of the data by comparing it against phone numbers of people he knew. Other journalists say they have also been able to match known phone numbers to the details in the data dump.

In a statement, Facebook said that the data was "very old" and related to an issue that it had fixed in August 2019.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook CEO Zuckerberg testifies remotely at Senate Judiciary Committee hearing about Facebook and Twitter's content moderation decisions on Capitol Hill in WashingtonFILE PHOTO: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Gal told Reuters that Facebook users should be alert to "social engineering attacks" by people who may have obtained their phone numbers or other private data in the coming months. News of the latest leak was first reported by Business Insider.

How to check if your data has been leaked

Social Media companies are legally required to notify users when their data has been compromised but those disclosures are often made through poorly defined public statements without directly contacting the users in question.

Platforms are available for online users to verify if their personal data has been compromised via sites such as HaveIBeenPwned.com, a database maintained by security analyst Troy Hunt. The site lets users use access via their mail-sign-in details and cross-references it with more over 10 billion accounts compromised in past breaches to determine whether they've been "pwned," or hacked.

Online account 'housekeeping'

If you are worried that your online details may have been breached or compromised, all platforms recommend changing passwords and avoiding simplistic passwords. If doubts persist about the security mature of your account, contact the platform in question.