Facebook Users Are Having Their Phone Numbers Sold Online Via A Telegram Bot

Facebook's users data is under threat yet again, as phone numbers from the platform's expansive community are being sold online, with buyers acquiring them via a Telegram bot.

This unfortunate discovery comes right off the heels of a wormable piece of malware making the rounds across WhatsApp via innocuous looking messages, painting Facebook and its corollary companies in a rather unfortunate light. Having said that, both of these companies have literally been dunked in that very paint for the past few weeks, what with the former's controversial policy change and the latter's FTC lawsuit and unintentional hand as an online forum for Capitol insurrectionists. So the feeling really shouldn't be new to either social media application.

At any rate, let's discuss the issue at hand. As reported by the Vice, the information was acquired from Facebook via a data breach in August of 2019, thankfully dating the acquired personal information by almost 2 years. This is, however, still a major concern since not everyone necessarily changed or updated their phone numbers since 2019, and there's quite a lot of information that these online sellers are willing to distribute. A dealer advertising these wares stated that around 500 million different phone numbers were under the acquisition of the attackers. While Facebook has allegedly fixed the exploited vulnerability in their interface, the damage has already been done.

The information is currently being sold online via the social media messaging app Telegram. The platform is a competitor of WhatsApp that received a rather hefty surge in user ship as people abandoned the Facebook property over it's controversial, and currently revoked, Terms of Service changes. A bot is currently active on Telegram, and once prompted, informs users that it sells cellular phone numbers of Facebook users. Upon entering a user's ID and sending it to the bot, a reply will be triggered containing the relevant number. Of course, the number itself will be hidden behind redactions, but users can purchase credits that can be redeemed to reveal the acquired info. One credit is apparently $20, which honestly isn't much considering the sensitive and guarded nature of the merchandise being sold.

There is some unfortunate absurdity in WhatsApp's users travelling to Telegram, only for their new abode to sell personal information from their previous platform's parent company. Then again, that is the unfortunately crazy nature of the internet. One can only stay alert online, and hope that Telegram quickly cracks down on the bot and its proponents before any active harm takes place.


Read next: Android Users Beware! WhatsApp Messages With Links To Malware Are Spreading Across The Social Media Platform

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