Two More Cases of Third-Party Facebook App Data Exposure

Brink

Staff member
mvp
The UpGuard Cyber Risk team can now report that two more third-party developed Facebook app datasets have been found exposed to the public internet. One, originating from the Mexico-based media company Cultura Colectiva, weighs in at 146 gigabytes and contains over 540 million records detailing comments, likes, reactions, account names, FB IDs and more. This same type of collection, in similarly concentrated form, has been cause for concern in the recent past, given the potential uses of such data.

A separate backup from a Facebook-integrated app titled “At the Pool” was also found exposed to the public internet via an Amazon S3 bucket. This database backup contained columns for fk_user_id, fb_user, fb_friends, fb_likes, fb_music, fb_movies, fb_books, fb_photos, fb_events, fb_groups, fb+checkins, fb_interests, password, and more. The passwords are presumably for the “At the Pool” app rather than for the user’s Facebook account, but would put users at risk who have reused the same password across accounts.


Redacted example of Facebook data from the exposed At the Pool dataset.

The At the Pool discovery is not as large as the Cultura Colectiva dataset, but it contains plaintext (i.e. unprotected) passwords for 22,000 users. At the Pool ceased operation in 2014 (last non-redirect web archived capture here), and even the parent company’s website is currently returning a 404 error notice. This should offer little consolation to the app’s end users whose names, passwords, email addresses, Facebook IDs, and other details were openly exposed for an unknown period of time.


Data contained in the exposed Cultura Colectiva dataset.

Each of the data sets was stored in its own Amazon S3 bucket configured to allow public download of files.

The data sets vary in when they were last updated, the data points present, and the number of unique individuals in each. What ties them together is that they both contain data about Facebook users, describing their interests, relationships, and interactions, that were available to third party developers. As Facebook faces scrutiny over its data stewardship practices, they have made efforts to reduce third party access. But as these exposures show, the data genie cannot be put back in the bottle. Data about Facebook users has been spread far beyond the bounds of what Facebook can control today. Combine that plenitude of personal data with storage technologies that are often misconfigured for public access, and the result is a long tail of data about Facebook users that continues to leak.


Redacted example of Facebook data from the exposed Cultura Colectiva dataset.

Read more: Losing Face: Two More Cases of Third-Party Facebook App Data Exposure
 

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