Facebook users’ phone numbers are being sold on Telegram

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If you need even more proof that deleting your Facebook account is probably a good idea, user phone numbers are currently being sold via a bot on Telegram. 

According to new reports, a person that runs a bot on the newly popular messaging app Telegram claims to have phone numbers of 533 million Facebook users. Apparently, the numbers were pulled from a previous Facebook exploit that has been patched since. All of these numbers are now available for $20 a pop, with discounts for bulk options, obviously. 

Facebook’s leaking

Interestingly, however, the bot isn’t only in possession of spreadsheets filled with phone numbers. The phone numbers are connected with Facebook user IDs, which means buyers can either provide a number and get an ID or provide an ID and get a number. All while paying for access to the database using a made-up currency called credits. One credit costs $20 while 10,000 credits will only cost you $5,000.

According to the researcher who found this vulnerability, Alon Gal, the bot has been live since 12 January. The data it’s selling is fairly old though, and dates back to 2019. 

“It is very worrying to see a database of that size being sold in cybercrime communities, it harms our privacy severely and will certainly be used for smishing and other fraudulent activities by bad actors,” says Alon Gal.

We don’t know whether Telegram is taking any steps to disable the bot. But more worryingly, we’d like to know how the leaker gained access to Facebook user information. Facebook’s data collection (and handling) policies have become increasingly dodgy, especially with the rollout of its latest WhatsApp update. 

Source: The Verge

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Digital Editor at Stuff. Nevermind the fancy title, I like writing about things that are cool. Like games, gadgets and sometimes even software. Depending on how cool it is.

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