If you're like most people, you probably use Facebook and WhatsApp every day. Those two social networks are often the first place we go when we want to connect with friends or family, find out what's happening in the world, or waste time online. But how much do you know about the cybersecurity risks of using these sites? Let's take a look at some things that may surprise you.
Facebook Data Breach of $277 million
Facebook's parent company, Meta, was fined $277 million by Ireland's data regulator on Monday after the private data of more than half a billion users were leaked, violating European Union data protection rules.
"This case involves the largest personal data breach in history," Commissioner Helen Dixon said.
The fine relates to using a now-defunct feature on Facebook called "scrapping" that allowed third-party companies to collect profile information about users without their consent and without informing them beforehand. The practice was banned by Facebook in 2015 but continued for several years.
How did Facebook META get hacked?
The hackers gained access to a third-party analytics tool used by some Facebook advertisers. This allowed them to scrape user data from at least 30 million accounts. They then used this data (including email addresses, phone numbers, and birthdays) to create new accounts using fake names.
These accounts were then used for spamming purposes or sold on black markets, where they would be used in further attacks against other users of social media platforms like Instagram and Tinder.
What cybersecurity risks involve putting your information on social media sites like Facebook?
The risk here is that criminals could steal and use your information. It's no secret that Facebook has been hacked before, so you must be careful when putting your data on social media sites like this.
Facebook is a public forum. You post your pictures and personal information to people who don't know you personally or who may not even be real people at all. You are giving them access to your details, such as your name, phone number, and address if you live in the U.S., which is worth considering before posting anything online.
Because Facebook sells its users' data for profit (it makes $4 billion from advertising each year), it would have taken the necessary steps toward protecting those users from breaches, such as this one.
Why it's crucial to understand the cybersecurity risks that go with using Facebook
Social media is a handy tool for staying connected with friends and family. However, it also carries cybersecurity risks that you need to be aware of. Facebook has been hacked many times, and the data of millions of users has been compromised over the years.
For example, in September 2018, a security breach on Facebook exposed the sensitive personal information of 50 million users—including their names, birth dates, and locations—to unauthorized individuals. Recently, even the world’s most commonly used messaging app, WhatsApp, apparently suffered a data leak impacting about 487 million of its users, exposing private phone numbers through an API scraping attack. These breaches can have severe consequences for those affected: Criminals could use this data to commit fraud or identity theft (which can lead to financial losses).
You must take steps to protect yourself from cyberattacks that might result from accessing social media sites like Facebook. The first step toward doing so is understanding how these breaches occur so that you can avoid making mistakes that could leave you vulnerable online.
The Facebook META data breach is just one of many examples to note. This was a significant breach, but it is by no means the only one that has happened over time. Always be aware of the cybersecurity risks on social media sites like Facebook or WhatsApp, because they are vulnerable to attacks from hackers, who want to steal personal information or use your account for malicious purposes. Although some may use these apps in more of a personal aspect, realize some of you may use these from a business perspective as well! Remember to always be aware and cautious of the info you put out there. If you have any concerns or questions on how to better secure your accounts/business, feel free to reach out to our team at KRS via email at [email protected], or speak with our live technicians at 201-402-1900.