Localblox data breach is the latest nightmare for Facebook, LinkedIn

what facebook users should know about cambridge analytica and privacy mobile v1

After Facebook found itself embroiled in the Cambridge Analytica data scandal that affected the personal information of 87 million of its users, the company is once again tied to another data breach. This time, Localblox is the culprit.

Like Cambridge Analytica, Localblox creates profiles of individuals using information scraped from publicly accessible sources, like social network profiles on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Zillow. Localblox chief technology officer Ashfaq Rahman describes the process to ZDNet as creating transformative intelligence by joining bits and pieces together. A listing on Crunchbase describes Localblox as “a location-based social network that builds scalable neighborhood platforms, aggregating business profiles with metadata.”

Unfortunately for the company, the collected data was stored in an unsecured and unlisted Amazon S3 container, which was discovered by ethical data breach hunter Chris Vickery at cybersecurity research firm UpGuard. The combined files amounted to 1.2 terabytes of storage, and up to 48 million user profiles were kept without a password. Localblox had quickly secured access with a password within hours of Vickery’s notification.

“The data collected includes names and physical addresses, and employment information and job histories data scraped from Facebook and LinkedIn profiles — like dates of birth and other public profile data, and Twitter handles,” ZDNet reported after examining the files Vickery collected.

Rahman disputed Vickery’s reports, claiming that most of the data was fabricated for testing, and that Vickery had hacked into Localblox’s systems.

It’s unclear what legal repercussions, if any, Localblox will suffer as a result of its collection of data without user consent. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Zillow all have policies prohibiting data scraping, but there are no laws in the U.S. that allow people to remove their personal data once it has been collected by firms like Cambridge Analytica and Localblox. In Europe, consumers benefit from stricter digital privacy regulations.

When compiled, the scraped data could be used in powerful ways, as Cambridge Analytica has shown with its involvement in Donald Trump’s presidential election campaign.

“The exposed LocalBlox dataset combines standard personal information like name and address, with data about the person’s internet usage, such as their LinkedIn histories and Twitter feeds,” UpGuard wrote in a report. “This combination begins to build a three-dimensional picture of every individual affected — who they are, what they talk about, what they like, even what they do for a living — in essence a blueprint from which to create targeted persuasive content, like advertising or political campaigning. If the legitimate uses of the data aren’t enough to give pause, the illegitimate uses range from traditional identity theft, to fraud, to ammunition for social engineering scams such as phishing.”

In an interview with StreetFight in 2013, Localblox president Sabira Arefin shifted the data protection blame to networks like Facebook, stating, “it is up to the individual sites and system to determine the terms and conditions and then enforce any security mechanism in place if they want to prevent scraping.”

Computing

Is your PC safe? Foreshadow is the security flaw Intel should have predicted

Three new processor vulnerabilities have appeared under the 'Foreshadow' banner. They're similar in nature to Meltdown and Spectre, only they steal data from different memory spaces. Here's everything you need to know.
Computing

Australian student hacks into Apple, steals 90GB of data because he’s a ‘fan’

A 16-year-old student in Australia broke into Apple’s network multiple times for an entire year to download 90GB of “secure” data and access customer accounts. He did this because he was a "fan."
Mobile

Need a do-over? Here's how to factory reset an iPhone, from X on down

Resetting an iPhone can alleviate all sorts of software woes, and wipe away personal data should you sell your device or give it to someone else. Here's how to factory reset an iPhone from within iOS or iTunes.
Social Media

Instagram hackers are changing account info into Russian email addresses

Have you logged in to your Instagram lately? A hack circulating this month has Instagram users locked out of their accounts because a hacker changed all the profile data, according to a report.
Web

Google claims censored search in China is ‘not close’ as employees protest

Google CEO, Sundar Pinchai, has promised employees that the company is "not close" to releasing a censored search product in China, despite claims that it was working on such a project.
Web

Adobe Spark Page makes web design easy — here’s how to use it

Using artificial intelligence and simple tools, Adobe Spark Page is designed for easy web page design. Here's how to use Adobe Spark Page to create a travel journal, event page or any other one-page website.
Computing

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 850 chip appears in benchmarks with improved performance

A benchmark for Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 850 processor show a less-than-stellar increase in multi-core performance over the previous 835 chip. Introduced in June, the Snapdragon 850 promises up to 30 percent better performance.
Deals

Best Buy drops the price of MacBooks for its anniversary sale

It's not every day you see a MacBook sale like this, so you'll definitely want to consider these savings -- especially if you're a student. Students can save an additional $150 just by signing up for Best Buy student deals.
Deals

Walmart Back to College sale: Save big on computers, TVs, tablets, and more

Walmart's Back to College sale is your chance to score big discounts on name-brand electronics, so whether you're getting ahead of the new school year or just doing some shopping, we've picked out the best deals that can save you hundreds…
Computing

These 30 apps are absolutely essential for Mac lovers

There are literally hundreds of thousands of great software programs compatible with MacOS, but which should you download? Look no further than our list of the best Mac apps you can find for the latest MacOS and how they can help out your…
Computing

Apple’s rumored entry-level MacBook may appear in September starting at $1,200

Apple may reveal new products in September including an entry-level 13-inch MacBook based on Intel’s seventh-generation processors. Apple originally intended these units to rely on Intel’s now-delayed 10nm “Cannon Lake” processors.
Mobile

AirDrop makes sending files to Apple devices easy -- here's how

Want to send files or photos to your friends when you're standing directly beside them? Instead of texting or emailing, why not learn how to use AirDrop? Here's everything you need to know about using AirDrop on both iOS and MacOS.
Deals

Stay safe on the web and save up to $70 with McAfee Total Protection

If you don't have some sort of protection on your phone, tablet, or computer, you're basically leaving the door open for anyone looking to do some cyber burgling. Protect yourself for a year with McAfee Total Protection for just $30.
Computing

PDF to JPG conversion is quick and easy using these simple methods

Converting file formats can be an absolute pain, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a comprehensive guide on how to convert a PDF to JPG, no matter which operating system you're running.