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Facebook Leak: how to check the security of your data?

Facebook user account information is a coveted commodity for hackers who might publish it in the public domain or sell it to third-party organizations and agencies for marketing purposes. On top of that, leaks of user account data from Facebook partners' databases cannot be ruled out. In this article, we'll talk about how to avoid a hacker attack on your account and how to check if your data has been stolen or leaked to the public.

Hacker attacks: What you need to know to protect your account

News of another hacker attack on Facebook and its Messenger is frequent. Thus, according to cybersecurity company Group-IB, owners of Facebook Messenger accounts in 84 countries around the world may receive tempting offers to download new, improved versions of the application - for example, the Gold version. These offers use the official Facebook logo and name, but they are fraudulent, and their creators' goal is to gain access to users' accounts. No way you should click on any links, much less fill out any forms, unless you are sure they are from the official app store or Facebook itself.

Can you find out if your Facebook data has been leaked?

In April 2021 it was revealed that the personal data of more than 500 million Facebook users had been published on an online forum. This data included unique identification numbers of Facebook users, information about their location, work, the field of activity, etc. Facebook representatives said that old data dating back to before 2019 had been stolen, and assured users that the problem had been discovered and fixed in August 2019. However, this has not diminished the discontent and distrust of account holders...

It is quite difficult to know for sure if your data ended up in the leak. In addition, it is important to understand that searching and accessing databases itself, can involve certain responsibilities and risks - in some countries, such as the United States, access to and possession of stolen data is often considered a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The Google search engine periodically sends users special notifications when their data (mainly passwords for various services and applications) have been compromised. We recommend check these notifications and promptly change passwords.

There is an independent service Have I Been Pwned that you can use to check if your email address and phone number have ended up in one of these illegal databases on the Internet. You can search by e-mail or phone number. However, we can't recommend it as a database that captures all cases of such leaks.

How do you know if your Facebook data has been leaked to Cambridge Analytica?

The most high-profile case of Facebook user account data leaks was scandal around the transfer of information about millions of accounts to the British company Cambridge Analytica. As a result of this leak, Facebook offered users a simple way to find out if their data had been used by Cambridge Analytica.

Since the Facebook privacy policy has been changed, you can now see which banned apps (including Cambridge Analytica) may have had access to your info by visiting this Help center page.

If you participated in "This Is My Digital Life," or other banned apps campaigns, you will be informed. Otherwise, Facebook will confirm that no information was shared.

In addition, in a wave of heightened privacy concerns, Facebook has provided a tool to identify apps and websites that have been authorized with the provision of user data. These apps and sites will also have limited access to the data. With the new account settings, it is easier to find and manage your security settings.

Which apps and websites have access to my Facebook data?

To find out which apps and websites have access to your Facebook data, click this link to open the Apps and Websites page. Select the Active tab to see which apps and sites are currently active. If an app is displayed in this list, it can only receive the information it has been given:

On this page, select the View and edit option next to each application or site - this will open a window with the information provided to that particular service:

Here you can easily manage the visibility of the application, as well as access the information that is shared with it, view the actions it can perform, and change or complete authorization.

The Expired tab at the top of the page lets you see which connections have expired. This means that these apps and sites can access previously provided data, but any new data will not be used because the connection has expired. Note that you will still be able to use your Facebook account to log in to these services.

The Removed tab at the top of the page displays all the apps and sites that have been removed. Like the list of expired apps and websites, these services may still have access to some information. However, they will not be able to send new data requests.

How do I delete my Facebook account?

Many people are concerned about the scandals surrounding Facebook user data leaks. You are not alone if you want to delete your account for this reason. To delete your Facebook account, you have two options: temporary deactivation and permanent deletion. Learn more how to temporarily deactivate or permanently delete your Facebook account.

Before you completely delete your account, you can extract (copy) all your data from Facebook. Learn how to download Facebook data to your computer or mobile device.

What to do if your Facebook account has been hacked?

If your Facebook account or Facebook Messenger account has been compromised, you can tell the social network's technical support team. Learn how to recover your Facebook account.

N. B.: Want to know new ways to protect your information on Facebook? Read this article about secret conversation feature on Facebook Messenger that encrypts your conversations.

Photo – 123RF.com

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This document, titled « Facebook Leak: how to check the security of your data? », is available under the Creative Commons license. Any copy, reuse, or modification of the content should be sufficiently credited to CCM (ccm.net).

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