As part of a recent data breach, millions of users' social media data including popular names such as Instagram, YouTube, and even TikTok got exposed. The leaked data included users' information such as contact information, names, images, and more. Read on to know more about the new data breach that has affected 235 million users.
Instagram, YouTube data leaked
It is suggested that the database comprised web scrapped data of users by a now-shut company called Deep Social. For the uninitiated, web scrapping refers to a way of collecting data from the web pages of various sites in an automated manner to form databases. The data collected is mainly public. While the practice is not illegal it is not accepted widely to protect users' data.
Security firm Comparitech's lead researcher Bob Diachenko has suggested that three similar copies of the database were found exposed as of August 1. When Deep Social was contacted, the firm was directed to the Hong-Kong-based firm Social Data. Social Data accepted the data breach and stopped access to the data. Although, the company refuted any link with Deep Social.
In addition to this, Social Data provided a statement to The Next Web suggesting that the data wasn't accessed secretively. It said, "Please, note that the negative connotation that the data has been hacked implies that the information was obtained surreptitiously. This is simply not true, all of the data is available freely to ANYONE with Internet access."
The data included four different datasets with information such as the profile name, full name, images, age, gender, account description, profile statistics (Number of followers, Engagement rate, Follower growth rate, Audience gender, Audience age, Audience location, and Likes) to monitor engagement, and 20% of users' numbers or email IDs. The data leaked can be used for scam and phishing purposes, which raises security concerns.
To recall, last year, a similar case of data scrapping leaked millions of users' Facebook data, as revealed by Bob Diachenko. Since web scraping isn't a prohibited act, companies need to come up with ways to keep user data while collecting it. This also includes the companies from where the data is being collected from.