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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg remotely testifying before a House Judiciary Subcommittee in July 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

A leaker said Saturday they are providing personal information on 533 million Facebook users, including phone numbers, locations, birthdates and other data.

The latest: Though the data is resurfacing, the issue connected to the leaked data was "found and fixed" in August 2019, a Facebook spokesperson told Axios in a statement.

How it worked: "With this ‘new’ case, we were provided with a sample of the data and it matched previously known data related to the Contact Importer vulnerability that was fixed in late August 2019," the company spokesperson said.

  • Facebook at the time disabled functionality that previously made it "possible to input multiple phone numbers and, by running an algorithm, connect which number matched to a specific user."

Why it matters: The data, which can be accessed for free, may be used by cybercriminals to steal identities and scam or extort money from victims, according to Alon Gal, CTO of cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, which discovered the leaked data.

  • Gal noted the database appears to be the same set of Facebook-connected phone numbers circulating since January and that was originally reported by Motherboard, per Reuters.

By the numbers: The leak includes data from 32 million users in the U.S., 11 million users in the UK, and 6 million users in India.

Of note: It contains phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, birthdates, bios and email addresses. It notably does not contain password information.

  • The data is personal, but much of it is likely to be public already, though perhaps not in this form.

What they're saying: “A database of that size containing the private information such as phone numbers of a lot of Facebook’s users would certainly lead to bad actors taking advantage of the data to perform social engineering attacks [or] hacking attempts," Gal told Insider.

  • "Individuals signing up to a reputable company like Facebook are trusting them with their data and Facebook [is] supposed to treat the data with utmost respect." he added. "Users having their personal information leaked is a huge breach of trust and should be handled accordingly."
  • Gal said Facebook can't do much to help affected users because their data has already been posted, but he said Facebook can notify the users so they can watch for scams or frauds.

Our thought bubble via Axios' Scott Rosenberg: Any information you provide to Facebook or post there is sooner or later likely to end up public, even if you try to keep it private or specifically restrict it to your friends.

  • That doesn't excuse Facebook from responsibility for protecting its users, but at this point in Facebook's history, it's a realistic assumption for any user's self-defense.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout with Facebook's comments and to clarify the data leaked was originally found in 2019.

Go deeper

White House nominates Rick Spinrad as NOAA leader

In this NOAA GOES-East satellite handout image, Hurricane Dorian, a Cat. 4 storm, moves slowly past Grand Bahama Island on September 2, 2019. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

The White House on Thursday evening nominated Rick Spinrad, an oceanographer at Oregon State University, to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Why it matters: Filling the NOAA slot would complete the Biden administration's leadership on the climate and environment team. The agency, located within the Commerce Department, houses the National Weather Service and conducts much of the nation's climate science research.

2 hours ago - World

Israeli officials will object to restoration of Iran deal in D.C. visit

Photo: Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed the delegation traveling to Washington, D.C. next week for strategic talks on Iran to stress their objection to a U.S. return to the 2015 nuclear deal and to refuse to discuss its contents, Israeli officials say.

Why it matters: That position is similar to the one Israel took in the year before the 2015 nuclear deal was announced, which led to a rift between the Israeli government and the Obama administration. History could now repeat itself.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases aren't budging — even after vaccinations doubled— Health care workers feel stress, burnout more than a year into the pandemic — Handful of "breakthrough" COVID cases occurred in nursing homes, CDC says.
  2. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson's vaccine production problems look even bigger — All U.S. adults now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine.
  3. Political: Watchdog says agency infighting increased health and safety risks at start of pandemic.
  4. World: EU regulator: Benefits of J&J vaccine outweigh risk of rare blood clots.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.