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Story: Social media data breaches

Background: India Stands Third in Data Breaches! Over 86 million People Affected Till 2021

A data breach happens when personal information is accessed, disclosed without authorisation, or is lost. For example, when:
• A USB or mobile phone that holds an individual’s personal information is stolen
• A database containing personal information is hacked
• Someone’s personal information is sent to the wrong person
A data breach can harm an individual whose personal information is affected. They can, for example, suffer distress or financial loss.

Incident Cover

There’s no denying it: I got hacked. Here’s what we learned and what you can learn, too.

On a normal day in October 2018, at around 11:30 a.m., I received a message from a stranger asking how I was doing and showing me some of my personal photos that I had shared with my boyfriend, asking me to send money, and then blackmailing me by threatening to post my semi-naked photos and mobile number on public platforms if I didn't do what he said. I gave some money out of panic when he told me to delete those photographs, but the issue quickly got out of control, and he demanded more money, which I couldn't afford. As I was unable to take it out any longer, I approached cyber police and requested their assistance. Because the hacker used multiple fake ids, they were unable to track him. Later, as cyber police advised, I deleted all accounts from social media platforms and changed my mobile number, but I was still concerned about my personal data being discovered on social media. With the help of my friends, I felt better and began to move on from the situation.

Incident Cover

There’s no denying it: I got hacked. Here’s what we learned and what you can learn, too.

On a normal day in October 2018, at around 11:30 a.m., I received a message from a stranger asking how I was doing and showing me some of my personal photos that I had shared with my boyfriend, asking me to send money, and then blackmailing me by threatening to post my semi-naked photos and mobile number on public platforms if I didn't do what he said. I gave some money out of panic when he told me to delete those photographs, but the issue quickly got out of control, and he demanded more money, which I couldn't afford. As I was unable to take it out any longer, I approached cyber police and requested their assistance. Because the hacker used multiple fake ids, they were unable to track him. Later, as cyber police advised, I deleted all accounts from social media platforms and changed my mobile number, but I was still concerned about my personal data being discovered on social media. With the help of my friends, I felt better and began to move on from the situation.

What we should learn


• Furthermore, the public availability of phone numbers is of special importance currently, when they are frequently used for identification verification. Most digital services, including online payments, now demand phone numbers to send authentication codes for verification, so utilising too many digital resources can be problematic, but with a little caution, it won't be an issue.

• COVID-19 has impacted virtually every facet of industries, so perhaps it's not surprising that cybersecurity has suffered during the pandemic. Remote interactions between people grew exponentially virtually overnight, leaving little time to ensure all bases were covered regarding security precautions.

• A data breach happens when personal information is accessed, disclosed without authorisation, or is lost. Under the Notifiable Data Breaches scheme, you must be told if a data breach is likely to cause you serious harm.

Security experts have said that the leaked data can be used for phishing attacks, sending spam over text messages, marketing calls and targeted advertising.

What I learned

• Don’t post or save any personal data in social media platforms
• The information was collected through scraping, which involved exploiting a vulnerability in social networking networks to gather all the information, so any passwords we use should be strong.
• Privacy has been the biggest casualty because of this leak, with personal information such as phone numbers and addresses of many people now available in the public domain so we shouldn’t click on any unauthorized weblinks.


Note

This database was leaked on the dark web for free in April 2021, adding a new wave of criminal exposure to the data originally exfiltrated in 2019. This makes Facebook one of the recently hacked companies 2021, and therefore, one of the largest companies to be hacked in 2021.


Conclusion:

The aim of our community is to initiate a serious debate on right to privacy and data protection in the Indian perspective. Privacy though not expressly provided under the Constitution; it impliedly takes into it the right to privacy as personal liberty guaranteed under article 21.
• The data leakages may include financial details, health information, business proposals, intellectual property, and sensitive data.
• Our community assists individuals, businesses, and professionals with cyber threats, hazards, and the right to use digital information without risk, as well as cyber security knowledge.

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