Researchers have found a database which exposes the names, phone numbers and Facebook user IDs of 267M of the Facebook users. This database was left unsecured on the web for nearly two weeks before it was removed.
The Data Exposed
In total 267,140,436 records were exposed. Most of the affected users were from the United States. Diachenko says all of them seem to be valid. Each contained:
- A unique Facebook ID
- A phone number
- A full name
- A timestamp
“A database this big is likely to be used for phishing and spam, particularly via SMS,” according to the Thursday report. “Facebook users should be on the lookout for suspicious text messages. Even if the sender knows your name or some basic information about you, be skeptical of any unsolicited messages.”
Facebook users can make some changes in their profiles from being scraped by strangers by adjusting their account privacy settings:
- Open Facebook and go to **Settings**
- Click **Privacy**
- Set all relevant fields to **Friends** or **Only me**
- Set **”Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile** to **No**
This will reduce the chances of your profile being scraped by third parties, but the only way to ensure it never happens again is to completely deactivate or delete your Facebook account.