How to Find if Your Data Was Leaked Online

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F E A T U R E – T E C H N O L O G Y

While Facebook already excels at a tremendous amount of sectors — restricting legitimate pages with mass reach, allowing hate speech and misinformation by political leaders — it took the world by storm as the personal data of over 533 million users was recently leaked online. The leaked data ranges from phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, bios, to, in some cases, locations, birth dates, and email addresses.

A spokesperson for Facebook told Insider that the data had been scrapped because of “a vulnerability that the company patched in 2019”. The breach was allegedly done by a user in a low-level hacking forum. Should we be concerned?

Yes and no. Yes, because the leaked data are now at public disposal  — ready to be taken advantage of. No, because, well, Facebook (and Big Tech companies in general), were already harbouring our “private” data to begin with. Chances are, most of us probably didn’t know, or didn’t care enough to do anything about it.

But rest assured! Out of 3 billion+ users, “only” 533 million users had their data leaked — about one-sixth of the total number of users. And thankfully, one can check if they were part of the breach.

The Process

Have I Been Pwned is a website dedicated to tracking data-breaches. By entering a phone number or an e-mail address linked to a Facebook account on the landing page, the site will determine whether the inputted data has been compromised or not. 

On the off chance that it the data was leaked, one should, as advised by The Verge,

“Change the passwords of compromised sites, use a password manager so that you can create and track unique passwords for each site (so that if one is compromised, it won’t affect any others), use two-factor authentication for additional security, and stay alert for news of any other breaches.”


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