Data leak reveals again millions of Facebook data from Vietnam

[German]Security researchers found an unsecured data base with 12 million Facebook users from Vietnam, who were probably exfiltrated from the social network.


The Cambridge Analytica scandal of March 2018, in which millions of Facebook data of Americans were officially taken away by an analytics company, had already sparked discussions about privacy of Facebook's user data. I received now information from security researchers that we have to to add records of a good 12 million Facebook users to the stack of leaked data. The new case raises additional concerns about the company's security measures.

Open Elasticsearch server with the data

A team of Safety Detectives security researchers led by Anurag Sen has discovered an unsecured Elastic Server on the Internet. Up to 3 gigabytes of stolen Facebook user data from 12 million users were found there. The assumption is that hackers captured the data in January 2020 from Vietnam. It is also unclear how the data of the Facebook users could be taken from the social network.

This means, that it was possible for third parties to retrieve the data from Facebook user accounts via app, vulnerabilities or whatever and store it locally. Data analysts and information brokers may use official interfaces for this – that was the case with Cambridge Analytica. This is problematic because a Facebook user does not actually release his data for use in the public. And there is the danger that the information is misused.

What data was found in the leak?

The database with the 3 gigabytes of data contained the following personal data of the respective users:

  • Full name
  • Hometown location
  • Current location
  • Education details
  • Family relations with other Facebook users
  • Birthdates
  • GPS coordinates
  • Email addresses
  • Facebook usernames and IDs
  • Profile scores

The following screenshot shows that the data probably originated in Vietnam from Vietnamese users.

Facebook Datenleck Vietnam 2020


Further details can be found in the article published by the security researchers. All in all, this once again shows the problem that data on the Internet will eventually be leaked or hacked.

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