How Do The Facebook & LinkedIn Data Leaks Impact Their Users?

The fourth month of the year 2021 is proving to be frightful for the privacy-concerned people as data breach headlines are all over the internet. Before users could digest the news of the recent leak of over 530 million Facebook users' data, news of the LinkedIn data breach emerged.  A database of about half a billion LinkedIn users is put up on sale on a popular hacking forum.
 
Many users might find the recent Facebook and LinkedIn breaches shocking, considering how big these organizations are, but surprisingly this is not the first time it has happened.
 
A major cyber attack was carried out on LinkedIn when it was hacked in 2012 by Russian cyber criminals. The passwords of more than 6.5 million users were stolen, and later on, 100 million more emails and hash passwords were discovered to be breached. Similarly, you would find numerous Facebook data breach stories on the internet; a major one happened in April 2019 when records of more than 540 million Facebook users were found on a public server.
 
Data leaks can hurt both individuals and organizations in a big way. Even though organizations are emphasizing and investing more in guarding their data, somehow, cyber criminals are always getting ahead and finding new ways to conduct a breach.

How Can The Facebook Data Leak Impact Users?

Almost every individual who uses the internet has a Facebook account. When Facebook was launched, its primary purpose was to connect with friends and people and add more persons to the friend lists with whom a person shares the same interests or ideologies.
 
Today Facebook has become a source of entertainment, business, and much more. If the Facebook data of an individual is made public through a data breach, here is how it can impact it:
 
  • Most people share almost everything on their Facebook profiles. You can find people sharing their personal numbers, email ids, likes, dislikes, political opinions, and much more. However, most of such information is shared only with connected friends. A data breach can leak such information to the public. Everything you share, your likes & dislikes, and more such data would be available for sale.
  • If a data breach is reported for a user, they have to change their passwords, block their banking cards, and handle more such headaches.
  • After knowing the likes and dislikes of a person, it would be easy for cyber criminals to trap them in the scam.
  • A data leak can lead to various vicious tasks. For example, a cyber criminal can buy an individual's personal data like photos, numbers, and more from the public forum and blackmail them in return for a ransom.
  •  If users' data such as email id and phone number get leaked and reach the hand of marketing companies, they would constantly nudge them with advertisements and call you to sell their product, service, or subscription.
  • Based on the individuals' likes and dislikes, they can be approached with the targeted products or services.
  • If an individual manages the business account of a company, the data leak can have an adverse impact on that business account as well. Suppose hackers get the credentials of a personal account that is also managing a business account. In that case, the cyber attackers can access the business account and use it for illicit purposes like tarnishing the company's reputation and more. 

How Can The LinkedIn Data Leak Impact Users?

LinkedIn is a popular platform for business people, entrepreneurs, recruiters, and job-seeking individuals. The recent data breach on the site brings out the sensitive data of about 500 million LinkedIn users, out of the total 740 million. The leaked data includes Name, Work Email, Phone Number, Industry, Github URL, Job Title, Twitter Username, and more. Luckily, there is no highly private leak like credit card number in this breach. 
 
Here is the list of how this data leak can impact LinkedIn users:  
 
  • With such enormous detailed data, cyber scamming can be conducted more convincingly. Suppose an individual's information is present in the list of leaked data. In that case, cyber criminals can use it to perform phishing scams as they would have all the necessary details to trick the users.
  • Using the details like email address and phone number, hackers can initiate brute force attacks to access the LinkedIn profile.
  • The data of over 500 million users can be used for conducting SMS and email spam. 
  • Marketing companies can also use LinkedIn data for targeted ads and spam calls & emails.

What If Your Facebook or LinkedIn Data Was Leaked?

First, check if your data is leaked or not.  There are various specialist websites where you can do this, including Cybernews and HaveIBeenPwnedIf you suspect that your information is compromised, follow these steps:
 
1. Change the login passwords of LinkedIn, Facebook, email account, and all other accounts connected to the leaked email.
 
2. Ignore the spam emails, messages, and calls you receive. If someone presents you with some offer or deal, verify its legitimacy before moving further.
 
3. Enable the multi-factor authentication on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and all other social channels.
 
4. Use password managers to create and store unique and robust passwords.

Bottom Line

These data leaks, especially of the Social Media channels, can be traumatizing for individuals. A person shares so much information on Facebook and LinkedIn profiles that are not for everybody to see. Being such a big organization, it is the responsibility of Facebook, LinkedIn, and others to stress more on securing their users' privacy. On the user level, every individual should be careful while sharing their sensitive information on social channels, especially Facebook.
 
Peter Baltazar a cybersecurity enthusiast who likes to aware people about online security  and is a content writer at Malwarefox.com
 
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