PALM BEACH, FL – Data security researchers discovered an online database containing the names, phone numbers, and Facebook IDs of 267 million Facebook users available for download on a hacker forum.
The database was not password protected and had been posted on December 12th. On December 14th, the researchers contacted the internet service provider that was hosting the database and the database was removed on December 19th.
According to the Associated Press, a Ukrainian security researcher stated the data, which was from nearly all U.S. based users, was likely harvested by criminals.
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.
Although it is unclear why or how the database was created, researchers warn that such information can be used for phishing or spam.
About The Author: John Colascione is Chief Executive Officer of Internet Marketing Services Inc. He specializes in Website Monetization, is a Google AdWords Certified Professional, authored a ‘how to’ book called ”Mastering Your Website‘, and is a key player in several Internet related businesses through his search engine strategy brand Searchen Networks®