Small Businesses Beware: Even Facebook Vulnerable to Data Breaches

Small Businesses Beware: Even Facebook Vulnerable to Data Breaches

Small business owners nationwide may be aware that they are particularly at risk for data breaches that can expose massive amounts of information for their customers and clients. To underscore just how real a possibility this is, one of the world’s foremost names online recently announced it had been hit by just such an incident.

The email addresses and phone numbers for some 6 million Facebook users worldwide were exposed in what the social network is calling an inadvertent data breach, according to a report from its security blog. The company said the breach itself was caused by a technical glitch in its archives, leading those who downloaded contact info for their Facebook friends to gain data that should have been restricted. The problem began in 2012 but was not noticed until earlier this month, and once it was spotted, the problem was corrected in less than 24 hours.

However, Facebook said that due to company policies relating to contacting regulators and users affected by the incident, it did not disclose the breach until Friday, the report said. Further, the company notes that it has yet to find any proof that the bug has ever been used for nefarious purposes. However, it wasn’t until a security researcher discovered the bug itself and reported it that Facebook became aware of its existence.

“Although the practical impact of this bug is likely to be minimal since any email address or phone number that was shared was shared with people who already had some of that contact information anyway, or who had some connection to one another, it’s still something we’re upset and embarrassed by, and we’ll work doubly hard to make sure nothing like this happens again,” the blog said.

Facebook spends large sums of money on its data security protocols, and despite that, something still went wrong. This could serve as a big lesson for small business owners who may not be devoting the necessary resources to IT – no matter what their reasons – of just how possible this type of incident can be. Smaller companies may want to at least take the time to invest in some tech insurance to help reduce costs when this type of incident happens. Small business insurance policies such as these can often mean the difference between a company financially surviving the fallout from such an occurrence.