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Photo: Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

A database of more than 419 million phone numbers taken from Facebook public profiles was accessible on the internet without any security, though it is now removed, reports TechCrunch.

The big picture: The database appears to have been compiled by an unknown group, taking advantage of users that kept their phone numbers in public profiles. Facebook stopped including phone numbers in public profiles last year.

Details: Researcher Sanyam Jain discovered the database and worked with TechCrunch to find a responsible party to secure the information from public view. While the database's owner could not be determined, the web host took the data down.

  • The database included 133 million Facebook users based in the U.S.
  • Though the collection of data had to have been compiled before Facebook removed phone numbers from profiles, TechCrunch found that the phone numbers still worked.

Why it matters: There's no evidence the document was discovered by a malicious party before the data was scrubbed from the web. But a massive list of phone numbers would make several forms of mischief easier.

  • That might include spam phone calls or hackers leveraging the numbers to take over accounts using a technique known as SIM swapping.

Go deeper... Report: Facebook ties names to authentication phone numbers

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
4 mins ago - Technology

Apple sets September quarter sales record despite pandemic

Apple CEO Tim Cook, speaking at the Apple 12 launch event in October. Photo: Apple

Apple on Thursday reported quarterly sales and earnings that narrowly exceeded analysts estimates as the iPhone maker continued to see strong demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

What they's saying: The company said response to new products, including the iPhone 12 has been "tremendously positive" but did not give a specific forecast for the current quarter.

Supreme Court rejects second GOP effort to cut absentee ballot deadline in N.C.

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Supreme Court, for the second time in two days, rejected a GOP request to shorten the deadline mail-in ballots must be received by North Carolina officials to be counted.

The state of play: The state's deadline had been extended from 3 days to 9 days post-Election Day.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

The vaccine race turns toward nationalism

The coronavirus pandemic is worsening, both in the U.S. and abroad, with cases, hospitalizations and deaths all rising.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the state of global vaccine development — including why the U.S. and China seem to going at it alone — with medicinal chemist and biotech blogger Derek Lowe.