A database containing more than 267 million Facebook user IDs, phone numbers, and names was left exposed on the web for anyone to access without a password or any other authentication.
Comparitech partnered with security researcher Bob Diachenko to uncover the Elasticsearch cluster. Diachenko believes the trove of data is most likely the result of an illegal scraping operation or Facebook API abuse by criminals in Vietnam, according to the evidence.
Diachenko immediately notified the internet service provider managing the IP address of the server so that access could be removed. However, Diachenko says the data was also posted to a hacker forum as a download.
Timeline of the exposure
The database was exposed for nearly two weeks before access was removed.
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