Facebook app developers post millions of user records on cloud servers

Over 540 million Facebook records were left exposed on an Amazon cloud-computing server

Datasets from two third-party facebook apps were exposed to the public, according to cybersecurity firm UpGuard.

The two data troves come from Cultura Colectiva, a Mexican company sharing celebrity and entertainment news to an audience of millions, from which the majority of data came from, and the app At the Pool, which hasn't been running since 2014, but had improperly stored records of 22,000 app users who accessed it with their Facebook. Researchers notified Cultura Colectiva and Amazon in January, but the data remained unsecured until Wednesday.

"Facebook's policies prohibit storing Facebook information in a public database", explains a spokesperson. The second data set is a backup from a Facebook-integrated app titled "At the Pool".

The firm said, "Neither sensitive nor private data, like emails or passwords, were amongst those because we do not have access to that kind of data, so we did not put our users' privacy and security at risk".

"In the age of GDPR companies must realize that when they collect data they are responsible for it, regardless of whether they share it onwards or keep it themselves".

UpGuard, in its blog post also claims that Facebook can not mitigate the extent of the damage as it has spread far beyond its controls. Although Facebook has made efforts to reduce its third-party access to data, especially after Cambridge Analytica, argues UpGuard, these exposures show that "the data genie can not be put back in the bottle".

Among the varied types of information present in this database, researchers found thousands of passwords, photographs, comments, likes, Facebook IDs, among others.




Chris Vickery, executive of cyber risk research at UpGuard, told TechCrunch: "These discoveries keep on featuring the issues which plague organizations that rely upon mass data collection".

The records allegedly stored by Facebook partners contained data were mostly non-sensitive.

"The data genie can not be put back in the bottle".

Of course, now with the Cambridge Analytica scandal looming on its head, - the tech giant is making some amendments to secure users data - but as they say 'the damage has been done'.

The latest data breach appears to have been the result of Facebook allowing third party developers to integrate apps and websites with its platform to allow for functionality like signing into a service using Facebook. "We are committed to working with the developers on our platform to protect people's data", the spokesperson added.

Naaman Hart, Cloud Services Security Architect at Digital Guardian also comment on the breach and warned users that there is no such thing as free lunch referring to the free use of social media sites especially Facebook.

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