The private and personal information of over 1.5 billion Facebook users is being sold on a popular hacking-related forum, potentially enabling cybercriminals and unscrupulous advertisers to target Internet users globally.

If authentic, this may constitute one of the biggest and most significant Facebook data dump to date.

Important Clarification: This is completely unrelated to the global Facebook outage experienced on 4 October 2021.

The timing of this news post and the Facebook outage constitutes an unfortunate coincidence leading to many incorrectly assuming a connection between the two.

Several websites and Twitter accounts incorrectly attribute the 4 October Facebook outage to this alleged data leak.

It is seemingly unrelated to an earlier 2021 Facebook data dump, where 500 million users were affected.

Highlights:

  • Data scrapers are selling sensitive personal data on 1.5 billion Facebook users.
  • Data contains users’: name, email, phone number, location, gender, and user ID.
  • Data appears to be authentic.
  • Personal data obtained through web scraping.
  • Data can be utilized for phishing and account takeover attacks.
  • Sold data claimed to be new from 2021.
  • Some prospective buyers claim they were scammed by the seller and no data was delivered after payment was made

In late September 2021, a user of a known hacker forum posted an announcement claiming to possess the personal data of more than 1.5 billion Facebook users. The data is currently up for sale on the respective forum platform, with potential buyers having the opportunity to purchase all the data at once or in smaller quantities.

One prospective buyer claims to have been quoted $5,000 for the data of 1 million Facebook user accounts.

According to the forum poster, the data provided contains the following personal information of Facebook users:

  • Name
  • Email
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Phone number
  • User ID

Related: Dark Web Price Index 2021 – We looked into the prices hackers charge for items such as hacked Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts and even online banking logins on the dark web

Update: After this news was initially published, a forum user and prospective buyer claimed they paid the seller but haven’t received anything in return. The seller hasn’t yet responded to these accusations.

All we know at this moment is that the multiple samples provided to forum users appeared to be real.

Samples presented on the forum show that the data indeed seems to be authentic.

Cross-checking them with known Facebook database leaks resulted in no matches, implying that at first glance, the sample data provided is unique and not a duplicate or re-sell of a previously known data breach or scraping.

The seller claims to represent a group of web scrapers in operation for at least four years, alleging that they’ve had over 18,000 clients during this time.

The traders claim to have obtained the data by scraping rather than hacking or compromising individual users’ accounts. Scraping is a process of web data extraction or harvesting where publicly available data is accessed and organized into lists and databases.

While technically, no accounts have been compromised, this is little solace to those whose data may now end up in the hands of unscrupulous internet marketers and likely also in the hands of cybercriminals.

Unethical marketers may utilize this data to bombard specific individuals or groups of individuals with unsolicited advertising.

The fact that phone numbers, real-life location, and users’ full names are included in the data is especially concerning. In addition, SMS and Push notification spam are becoming increasingly more prevalent even though most countries made these practices illegal many years ago.

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