Privacy commissioner looks into Facebook breach - RTHK
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Privacy commissioner looks into Facebook breach

2021-04-04 HKT 19:33
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  • The privacy watchdog says it's started a compliance check over the incident. Image: Shutterstock
    The privacy watchdog says it's started a compliance check over the incident. Image: Shutterstock
The privacy watchdog said on Sunday that it has reached out to Facebook’s Hong Kong office for details of a suspected data breach that involves nearly three million local users.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data (PCPD) said in a statement that it had started a “compliance check on the incident, including ascertaining the particulars of the data breach incident, the number of Hong Kong users affected and the personal data involved.”

“The PCPD has also reminded Facebook to notify affected users as soon as possible to mitigate the risks arising from the data breach,” it added.

The personal data of 533 million Facebook users, including their email addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth, was reportedly leaked online on Saturday. Security experts warned the data could be used for social engineering attacks or hacks.

However, Liz Bourgeois, director of strategic response communications at Facebook, wrote on Twitter that this was an “old” leak.

“This is old data that was previously reported on in 2019. We found and fixed this issue in August 2019,” she tweeted.

Hong Kong’s Privacy Commissioner Ada Chung said social media users should be vigilant about the potential theft of personal data.

“If they are in doubt about whether their personal data have been leaked, they may make enquiries with the social media concerned or make enquiries/complaints to the PCPD,” she said.

The PCPD said users could consider changing their passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and keep an eye on unusual activity from their social media accounts or emails.