500 Million Facebook Users Exposed
PowerKee’s Bastion of Privacy #19 - Covering the latest breach from social media behemoth Facebook
The data of over 500 million Facebook users was recently exposed in a hacker forum. The data leaked included phone numbers, full names, locations, email addresses, and biographical information. Such a data breach can easily extend to other areas like access to email accounts and banking.
This development joins the growing list of unwanted data theft and exposure that is becoming rampant across cyber networks. For instance, last week, we covered an alleged hack against Indian payment processor MobiKwik.
In the latest Bastion of Privacy, we consider the data storage practices of online service providers and how hacking such data can expose users to other risks. We also detail how privacy-based blockchain networks can provide a useful way for netizens to segregate their finances from their personal details.
Why Do Websites Extract User Data?
One of the primary reasons why corporations and web platforms extract data from their users is as an indirect form of payment. Once data has been harvested, the extent and manner of use depends on the platform, unless it gets into unauthorized possession, like the Facebook situation.
Some platforms store user data for proprietary use, mainly for marketing purposes. Other platforms, especially large networks, use this data and also sell them to third parties, also as a tool for marketing.
How cyber networks use harvested data has become a subject of major concern. This has warranted several discussions across different parts of the world over proper regulation of the industry to ensure netizens have adequate protection.
The Grave Consequences For Data Breach Victims
Data extraction by cyber networks is understandably an acceptable practice. It serves as compensation for services offered. The problem arises when the collected data is not fully secure.
Under such circumstances, users become exposed to endless risks. Reports reveal that the amount lost as a result of ransomware attacks has been on the rise over the past couple of years, increasing from roughly $300 million to over $20 billion.
In the wake of the Facebook leak, many people have been thrown into panic mode. Although Facebook has already put out a statement to clarify that the leaked information was from 2019, it could still pose a significant risk for victims caught in the breach. As a result, Facebook users in Australia have been advised to check and secure their social media accounts.
A normal attack route is that hackers in possession of IDs can try out random and “easy-to-guess” passwords to gain access to user email accounts, or other sensitive accounts. If successful, this can easily provide a route to accessing a user’s banking which may be linked to their email account.
How Can Cyber Networks Ensure Data Protection?
Unfortunately, the buck gets thrown back to the users whenever a data security issue arises. They are advised to take the responsibility of setting up passwords that are difficult to guess or adopt multi-level security systems. In many cases, users are also advised to not use the same password for multiple accounts on the internet.
For users with multiple online accounts, adopting complex and unique passwords for each account can become chaotic and confusing. Overcomplicating matters can cause users to make mistakes, leaving them even more vulnerable to security breaches. Rather than shifting responsibility to the supposed victims, the cyber networks should explore innovative solutions to tackling this perennial problem.
Existing cybersecurity solutions are fragile. Even platforms that adopt simultaneous security systems still face serious challenges from hackers. An alternative approach needs to be considered for addressing cybersecurity problems.
Blockchain-based Security Systems
The introduction of blockchain technology provides a redefined security model. As a decentralized technology, blockchain eliminates the ease of focussing efforts on a single point of attack. It becomes very costly and almost impossible to penetrate a distributed network.
PowerKee is a privacy-focused blockchain network that allows users to easily protect their financial data. Recent victims of the Facebook attack may have concerns that attackers will access their emails and find a route to their banking. PowerKee can tap into strong anonymity features, enabling them to protect their financial security by segregating it from their data tied to their online accounts.
PowerKee is a cryptocurrency network that makes privacy easy. Users can transact cheaply and instantly while maintaining anonymity. The PowerKee protocol uses a mixture of zero-knowledge proofs and coin mixing to provide strong privacy assurances to its users.