According to a recent report, messaging app Telegram has suffered a security breach, which means over 500 million Facebook users’ phone numbers are up for sale on the platform.
The Telegram bot that published the database is still selling access on a per-search basis to potential fraudsters. Users are permitted to buy 10,000 search credits for $20 each, which means they are able to buy up to $5,000 worth of searches at once.
This is extremely worrying for consumers. If hackers are able to access a user’s phone number, this could mean they are able to gain access to their Facebook ID.
Although this issue was discovered over two years ago, the database is still active and this means Facebook users may still be vulnerable to account hacking.
Alon Gal, who raised this security problem, said that the company has been selling data for at least two weeks. Although the numbers are from 2019, there are still huge risks for users as many people will still have the same phone number now.
In addition to this, investigators at Vice Motherboard found that the bot could even identify users that that chosen to keep their phone numbers private.
Facebook has, reportedly, confirmed the breach. However, it has also said that the Facebook IDs involved were those that were created before it fixed the suspected vulnerability and that, when tested against newer data, no results were pulled up.
Consumers whose phone numbers are connected to their Facebook accounts before August 2019 have been advised to be extra vigilant. People should keep an eye out for any suspicious spam calls or messages related to their accounts.
For anyone that’s concerned, the best option is to remove any unnecessary personal information from their Facebook account to minimize the risk of their data being sold to cyber criminals and online scammers.