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While Diachenko informed the service provider of the source IP address to have it taken down, the database was posted to a hacker forum and distributed.

The report says most of the affected profiles are from the United States. Given the US’ 2018 population is recorded at 327.2 million, it shows the extent of the potential leak.

Given that names and phone numbers have been leaked, there are concerns that millions of people will be susceptible to phishing scams. Michael Magrath, Director Global Regulations & Standards at OneSpan commented, “users should be cautious of unsolicited text messages and recheck their Facebook privacy settings.”

It’s indicative of the scary business of data hacking that criminals can now seek to benefit from. If an illegal operation can mine over 200 million Facebook records, it shines a light on Facebook’s lack of security.

At the end of the second decade of this century, it’s becoming clearer that the huge data set companies like Facebook took from people – for free – might end up not being worth the trade if personal data is increasingly mined for criminal gain.