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Facebook Removes Exposed User Records Stored on Amazon’s Servers

Facebook Removes Exposed User Records Stored on Amazon’s Servers

Security researchers from UpGuard have found more than 540 million Facebook records exposed in a public database. "We are committed to working with the developers on our platform to protect people's data", the company added.

UpGuard noted that it also found a database backup for a Facebook-integrated app called "At the Pool", which contained passwords for 22,000 users of the app.

Though the firm speculates the passwords are not of Facebook, but "At the pool" account of users, people who tend to use the same passwords across their multiple social media accounts may have been exposed. "I would recommend any concerned user who has provided their email password to Facebook immediately change it and then submit a request to Facebook for a detailed accounting of precisely what data was accessed and how that data was used".

"Facebook's policies prohibit storing Facebook information in a public database", the company was quoted by Reuters as saying.

UpGuard said it sent two notification emails to Cultura Colectiva on January 10 and January 14 and never received a response.

During a routine security review last month, Facebook discovered that it had stored hundreds of millions of account passwords with no encryption in plain, searchable text where thousands of employees had access.

Facebook user data has been found publicly accessible on the internet, a new report from security researchers says.

The second database, belonging to the defunct app At The Pool isn't as large, but its destructive potential can not be neglected.

After the Cambridge scandal broke in 2018, Facebook further restricted developer access and embarked on a wholesale review of third-party apps.

The incident puts Facebook in a particularly bad position. It's unclear how many individual users had data exposed.

Redacted example of data from the exposed Cultura Colectiva dataset.

According to UpGuard, the larger of the two databases belongs to a Mexican media company called Cultura Colectiva. "Regardless, the application is no longer active and all signs point to its parent company having shut down", UpGuard said.

Realizing that for the dead end it was, UpGuard instead reached out to Amazon on January 28th and received a reply on February 1st, which noted that the owner of the bucket had been made aware of the issue. At the Pool's data was taken offline during the investigation.

After another exchange and an intervention from Bloomberg who asked for comment on the issue, the cc-datalake database was eventually secured on April 3.

The data exposure is not the result of a breach of Facebook's systems.

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