CERT-In cautions facebook users, advises greater privacy after global data leak


India's cyber security agency CERT-In advised Facebook users to strengthen their account privacy settings after a recent global 'data scraping' incident in the social media platform affected about 61 lakh Indians.


"As the Facebook platform evolves and grows, parts of your account could be public. Data could also be collected and shared in ways you don't know about," the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team or CERT-In said


"It has been reported that globally there has been a large scale leakage of Facebook profile information. The exposed information includes email addresses, profile ID, full name, job occupation, phone numbers and birth date."


"According to Facebook, the scraped information does not include financial information, health information or passwords, however information from more than 450 million unique Facebook profiles globally, including approximately 61 lakh Indian individuals, has been made publicly available in multiple cyber criminal forums for free," the advisory said while explaining the breach.


A cyber security expert had spoken about this online leak earlier this month, which was acknowledged by the company, stating that "this is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019".


The advisory, while asking users of this popular social media platform to follow good cyber hygiene practices, also said that Facebook has advised individuals to "make sure that their privacy settings reflect what information they want to share publicly and who they want to be able to look them by phone number".


Facebook, it added, has also recommended account holders to enable two-factor authentication also know as 2FA.


It also recommended that users can consider changing their profile settings to "private" or "friends" only as data scrapers can use "public" information of an individual to "match and combine with data from other breaches to access even more of their personal information and accounts".

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