Female hands holding a phone

Billions of Facebook and Clubhouse users and their contacts exposed online

It has recently been revealed that up to 3.8 BILLION phone numbers have been stolen from Facebook and Clubhouse users. However, the data also includes phone numbers synced to these accounts from the phones of the people directly affected. As such, your phone number could be involved in this breach even if you don’t have a Facebook or Clubhouse account.

Most concerning is that the phone numbers have been reportedly merged into a database with information from affected users Facebook profiles. As such, criminals could potentially have access to a raft of personal information about nearly half the world’s population.

Not the first data breach this year for either Facebook or Clubhouse

Unfortunately for Facebook, this isn’t the first time they’ve fallen victim to a data breach in 2021, let alone in the last few years. Earlier this year, 533 million accounts were compromised. Facebook has been targeted so often that every user has probably had their data involved in a Facebook data breach in the past decade.

While Clubhouse has only been around since March 2020, this isn’t the first time the app has been involved in a data breach. In April 2021, 1.3 million Clubhouse users’ details were leaked online. This latest data breach comes just months after Clubhouse stopped being an exclusive, invitation-only app and became open to anyone in July 2021.

How did this data breach come about?

While it’s not known how this data breach occurred, it first came to light on 4th September.

A hacker who claimed to have stolen the data posted on a dark web forum that he had a database of 3.8 billion phone numbers that they were looking to sell for $100,000.

What does the Facebook and Clubhouse data breach mean for consumers?

If this breach was solely related to phone numbers, you likely wouldn’t have too much to worry about.

The greater danger comes because of the link to our profile data and contact books.

For example, if your email address is part of your Facebook profile, criminals could send you personalised phishing scams posing as your friends, asking you to transfer money or disclose details like your credit card number.

As of 28th September 2021, the database doesn’t appear to have been sold.

How to protect yourself following the Facebook and Clubhouse data breach

It’s worth noting that this could actually be a hoax by a “hacker” looking to rip off cybercriminals. As of 28th September 2021, neither Facebook nor Clubhouse had disclosed a data breach had occurred.

That said, you can never be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself online.

Aim to be extra vigilant if you’re using Facebook and Clubhouse in the coming weeks. Don’t directly engage with or accept requests from accounts you don’t recognise, and set up two-factor authentication if you haven’t already done so.

You can learn more about keeping yourself safe online here.

If your data has been compromised, you could be entitled to compensation

If your data has been involved in a data breach, you could be entitled to compensation, particularly if you have been a victim of fraud or lost money as a result.

If this has happened to you, contact LawPlus today and tell us about your experience for a FREE, no-obligation assessment of your potential data breach claim.

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