Data privacy concerns have been on the rise over the last few years. And why not? Security hacks, malware and virus attacks, data privacy breach, all of those have become such a commonplace today. It is surprising that this is all despite corporations, governments and users taking every measure and precaution.
News of security breaches add on to the worries and concerns even more. Speaking of which, it seems there has been yet another major security attack on users of various popular platforms. These include the likes of Facebook owned Instagram, Google owned YouTube and ByteDance owned TikTok. The recent attack has reportedly compromised data belonging to over 235 million users! A security research team working for pro consumer website, Comparitech, revealed this huge data breach.
Paul Bischoff, editor at Comparitech, stated that “the information would probably be most valuable to spammers and cybercriminals running phishing campaigns.” He also said that, “even though the data is publicly accessible, the fact that it was leaked in aggregate as a well-structured database makes it much more valuable than each profile would be in isolation.”
The data breach included compromise of information like profile names, full names, images, age, gender, account description, number of followers, engagement rate, follower growth rate, audience gender, audience age, audience location, likes etc. It also included the contact numbers and email IDs of about 20% of the victims. Event that’s a lot of people.
No. of Profiles Compromised
To give you an idea, Comparitech identified about 192,392,954 Instagram profiles, 42,129,799 TikTok profiles, and about 3,955,892 YouTube profiles that may have had their data compromised. Comparitech identified all of this on unknown websites hosted on 3 separate IPv6 addresses. All the leaked data points to Deep Social. Both Facebook and Instagram banned this company back in 2018 for scraping user profile data.
Links to Deep Social and Social Data
When trying to contact Deep Social, Comparitech found some links to another firm- Social Data, which then shut the unsecure databases but declined any links with Deep Social. Social Data stated that “please, note that the negative connotation that the data has been hacked implies that the information was obtained surreptitiously. This is simply not true, all of the data is available freely to ANYONE with Internet access.”
This latest data breach can open up paths to even more number of phishing and scamming attacks. Social media users should exercise extreme caution to avoid any such attempts made to further steal their data.
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