March 2, 2021

Volume XI, Number 61

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Privacy Tip #249 – Social Media Data Leak Exposes Millions of User Profiles

If you use social media frequently, especially TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, you may want to take note of a recent report by a security research team at Comparitech that an unsecured database has exposed 235 million Instagram, TikTok and YouTube user profiles. The exposed information may have included profile names, real names, profile photos, and account descriptions, and some might also have included telephone numbers and email addresses. In addition, users’ statistics were exposed, including the number of followers, engagement rate, growth rate, audience age, gender, location, user’s age and likes. 

Although some of the information is publicly available, according to Comparitech, “…the fact that it was leaked in aggregate as a well-structure database makes it much more valuable than each profile would be in isolation.”  This is because it saves the scammers a lot of time and effort with having to aggregate all the data elements together to prepare a profile of the user.

The information is a set up for massive phishing schemes.  If you use TikTok (consider twice before using TikTok in the first place), Instagram or YouTube, and you have a user profile, be especially aware that you will be targeted more than ever before with phishing attacks.

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Copyright © 2020 Robinson & Cole LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 233
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About this Author

Linn F. Freedman, Robinson Cole Law Firm, Cybersecurity and Litigation Law Attorney, Providence
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Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, cybersecurity, and complex litigation. She provides guidance on data privacy and cybersecurity compliance to a full range of public and private clients across all industries, such as construction, education, health care, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, utilities and critical infrastructure, marine, and charitable organizations. Linn is a member of the firm's Business Litigation Group and chairs its Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team. She is also a member of the Financial Services Cyber-Compliance Team (CyFi ...

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