It seems that Facebook’s data privacy issues won’t ever end. Security researcher Alon Gal has recently revealed that the personal information belonging to around 533 million Facebook users has been leaked online.
The massive dataset is currently being shared on various underground hacking forums for free, and it affects users from 106 countries including every country in the MENA region. At 32 million records, US Facebook users represent the greatest chunk of the dataset, followed by 11 million users from the UK, and 6 million users from India.
Besides user’s full names, the leak includes their phone numbers, Facebook IDs, locations, birthdates, bios, and sometimes even email addresses.
“So what’s the impact? For a targeted attack where you know someone’s name and country, it’s great for mobile phone lookup,” explains Troy Hunt, the creator of the Have I Been Pwned database. “But for spam based on using phone number alone, it’s gold. Not just SMS, there are heaps of services that just require a phone number these days, and now there’s hundreds of millions of them conveniently categorized by country with nice mail merge fields like name and gender.”
The stolen information actually comes from 2019, and cybercriminals had access to it for quite some time now through a Telegram bot, which makes it possible to look up a phone number and receive the corresponding user’s Facebook ID, and the other way around — all for a small fee.
“This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019,” said Liz Bourgeois, Facebook’s director of strategic response communications, in a Saturday tweet.
Old or not, the fact that the personal information of half a billion Facebook users is circulating around on the internet for free is the least the social media giant and its users need right now considering the number of new cybersecurity threats created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, Facebook will take the steps necessary to minimize the impact of the breach and protect its users.
To find out whether or not your Facebook account data was among the leak, go to HaveIBeenPwned.com and enter the email address you use to login to Facebook with. If your email address is detected within the millions of accounts, HaveIBeenPwned will let you know.
Emirates Airline To Invest $2 Billion On Major Upgrades
Emirates plans a huge retrofit on its fleet and an upgrade to the inflight experience.
Emirates Airline has just announced plans to improve its inflight experience for passengers. The carrier has budgeted $2 billion to refit the interiors of over 120 of its aircraft, aiming for a more modern aesthetic for cabins, along with better food choices, modern inflight entertainment options, and a significant service overhaul.
Emirates is well known for its premium service, so this overhaul is an ambitious decision, as many other airlines are trying their hardest to increase revenues and reduce costs.
“Emirates is flying against the grain and investing to deliver ever better experiences to our customers. Through the pandemic we’ve continued to launch new services and initiatives to ensure our customers travel with the assurance and ease, including digital initiatives to improve customer experiences on the ground. Now we’re rolling out a series of intensive programmes to take Emirates’ signature inflight experiences to the next level,” says Sir Tim Clark, President of Emirates Airline.
The investment aims to ensure Emirates stays on top form, with many of the upgrades scheduled to materialize quickly. For the physical refit, aircraft are scheduled to enter the Emirates Engineering Center in November. So what can passengers expect once work is complete? The most significant change will be to aircraft interiors, where flyers of all classes will immediately spot new flooring, paneling, and reupholstered seats.
As well as a physical overhaul, the airline plans to upgrade entertainment systems, adding a “Cinema in the Sky” experience, complete with a bespoke app. In addition, better meal choices will reflect changing dietary preferences, including a new vegan menu and a nod to sustainability — though there will remain a strong luxury vibe to the proceedings, as the company has entered an exclusive agreement to offer Dom Perignon vintage champagne on board, as well as delicacies such as Persian caviar.
Though many of the improvements may seem trivial, Emirates is hoping that along with a huge cabin overhaul, their overall flight experience will continue to make travel a pleasurable experience, elevating their service above the competition.