Researchers at UpGuard, a cybersecurity firm, found troves of Facebook user information hiding in plain sight, inadvertently posted publicly on Amazon.com Inc.’s cloud computing servers. The discovery shows that a year after the Cambridge Analytica scandal exposed how unsecure and widely disseminated Facebook users’ information is online, companies that control that information at every step still haven’t done enough to seal up private data, Bloomberg News reports.
In one instance, Mexico City-based media company Cultura Colectiva openly stored 540 million records on Facebook users, including identification numbers, comments, reactions and account names. That database was closed on Wednesday after Bloomberg alerted Facebook to the problem and Facebook contacted Amazon. Facebook shares pared their gains after the Bloomberg News report.
Another database for a long-defunct app called At the Pool listed names, passwords and email addresses for 22,000 people. UpGuard doesn’t know how long they were exposed, as the database became inaccessible while the company was looking into it.
Facebook shared this kind of information freely with third-party developers for years, before cracking down more recently. The problem of accidental public storage could be more extensive than those two instances. UpGuard found 100,000 open Amazon-hosted databases for various types of data, some of which it expects aren’t supposed to be public.