Facebook is finishing the year off with another impressive leak. Following September’s lapse, which saw a huge database of users’ phone numbers exposed online, researchers have found another database online, which comprises “more than 267 million Facebook user IDs, phone numbers, and names.” This was reportedly the result of a scraping operation by Vietnamese criminals, but nobody is sure how they reached the data.
One possibility is that the data was stolen from Facebook’s developer API before the company restricted access to phone numbers in 2018. Facebook’s API is used by app developers to add social context to their applications by accessing users’ profiles, friends list, groups, photos, and event data. Phone numbers were available to third-party developers prior to 2018.