Reports of a new Facebook data breach that exposed the private information of more than 500 million users was actually “found and fixed” back in 2019.

News of the resurfaced data breach began on Saturday, when a leaker began offering private information, including birthdates, locations, phone numbers, and other data belonging to Facebook users, Axios reports.

However, the most recent breach appears to be linked to phone numbers that were being floated around hacker circles in January.

“With this ‘new’ case, we were provided with a sample of the data and it matched previously known data related to the Contact Importer vulnerability that was fixed in late August 2019,” a spokesperson for Facebook said in a statement.

Alon Gal, the co-founder of Israeli cybercrime intelligence firm Hudson Rock, which discovered the leak, told Reuters that Facebook users need to monitor their accounts over the next few months.

He advised users to be vigilant about “social engineering attacks” by hackers who may have acquired their personal data from the leak.

“A database of that size containing the private information such as phone numbers of a lot of Facebook’s users would certainly lead to bad actors taking advantage of the data to perform social engineering attacks [or] hacking attempts,” Gal stated.

The data can currently be accessed for free and used to scam unsuspecting victims out of money.

Although the breach has exposed the personal data of users, it contains information that is most likely already public. The passwords of Facebook users have not been compromised.

Facebook is allowing users to have more control over what they see on the social network, with less reliance on algorithms
Facebook is allowing users to have more control over what they see on the social network, with less reliance on algorithms AFP / Lionel BONAVENTURE
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