A huge database of Facebook users’ phone numbers found online – gpgmail


Hundreds of millions of phone numbers linked to Facebook accounts have been found online.

The exposed server contained over 419 million records over several databases on users across geographies, including 133 million records on U.S.-based Facebook users, 18 million records of users in the U.K., and another with more than 50 million records on users in Vietnam.

But because the server wasn’t protected with a password, anyone could find and access the database.

Each record contained a user’s unique Facebook ID and the phone number listed on the account. A user’s Facebook ID is typically a long, unique and public number associated with their account, which can be easily used to discern an account’s username.

But phone numbers have not been public in more than a year since Facebook restricted access to users’ phone numbers.

gpgmail verified a number of records in the database by matching a known Facebook user’s phone number against their listed Facebook ID. We also checked other records by matching phone numbers against Facebook’s own password reset feature, which can be used to partially reveal a user’s phone number linked to their account.

Some of the records also had the user’s name, gender, and location by country.

A redacted set of records from the U.K. database. The “44” indicates +44, the U.K.’s country code and the “7” indicates a cell phone number.

This is the latest security lapse involving Facebook data after a string of incidents since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw more than 80 million profiles scraped to help identify swing voters in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Since then the company has seen several high-profile scraping incidents, including at Instagram, which recently admitted to having profile data scraped in bulk.

This latest incident exposed millions of users’ phone numbers just from their Facebook IDs, putting them at risk of spam calls and SIM-swapping attacks, which relies on tricking cell carriers into giving a person’s phone number to an attacker. With someone else’s phone number, an attacker can force-reset the password on any internet account associated with that number.

Security researcher Sanyam Jain found the database and contacted gpgmail after he was unable to find the owner. After a review of the data, neither could we. But after we contacted the web host, the database was pulled offline.

Jain said he found profiles with phone numbers associated with several celebrities.

Facebook spokesperson Jay Nancarrow said the data had been scraped before Facebook cut off access to user phone numbers.

“This dataset is old and appears to have information obtained before we made changes last year to remove people’s ability to find others using their phone numbers,” the spokesperson said. “The dataset has been taken down and we have seen no evidence that Facebook accounts were compromised.”

But questions remain as to exactly who scraped the data, when it was scraped from Facebook, and why.

Facebook has long restricted developers access to user phone numbers. The company also made it more difficult to search for friends’ phone numbers. But the data appeared to be loaded into the exposed database at the end of last month — though that doesn’t necessarily mean the data is new.

This latest data exposure is the most recent example of data stored online and publicly without a password. Although often tied to human error rather than a malicious breach, data exposures nevertheless represent an emerging security problem.

In recent months, financial giant First American left data exposed, as did MoviePass and the Senate Democrats.


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Grab promises to invest $500 million into Vietnam – gpgmail


Ride-hailing company Grab is going to focus some of its efforts on Vietnam with a $500 million investment over the next five years to grow its activities in the country.

While Grab started as a ride-hailing company, it is now much more than that. The company has become a “super app” that you can open to order a ride, order food from restaurants, make payments, get insurance products, loans and much more. It is mostly active in Southeast Asia.

The company recently announced that it would use some of the $7 billion that it has raised to date to bet on Indonesia. Grab plans to invest $2 billion in Indonesia to modernize the country’s transportation infrastructure. The Indonesian government is supporting the move, and Grab is using this opportunity to capture market share.

With today’s move, Grab is essentially doing the same thing at a smaller scale in Vietnam. In particular, Grab is once again partnering with government officials. It has announced a “Tech for Good” roadmap in the country that should foster Vietnam’s economic development at large.

Grab plans to provide work opportunities in 63 cities in order to fight unemployment rate. The company is looking for drivers, delivery persons and merchants. They will be able to access credit and insurance products. Of course, this plan will only work if there are enough Grab customers in those cities over the long term.

The company plans to invest in local startups through GrabVentures. Grab will also launch programs to improves digital and financial literacy. Finally, Grab plans to share data with local governments in order to tackle traffic congestion and pollution.

When it comes to metrics, Grab is already quite big in Vietnam. For instance, the company is currently handling 300,000 food deliveries per day through GrabFood. It represents a 400 percent increase in gross merchandise volume during the first half of 2019. Grab drivers have generated close to $1 billion in revenue over the years.


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