By Eshita Paul Image: Thomas White/Reuters
Analytica Data Breach 2018
ongoing scandal following the Cambridge Analytica firm that gathers personal
data from millions of Facebook without user consent has recently been making
headlines. Last month users launched a campaign to delete Facebook with the
official hashtag “#DeleteFacebook”, and it gained further momentum after the
WhatsApp co-founder advised everyone to delete the popular social networking
reports, by the New York Times, estimated that more than 50 million users had
their private information gathered by the political data firm. But now Facebook
has confirmed that up to 87 million people may have been affected by this
incident. According to Facebook, users in the United States have been most affected
by the entire Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal. It has been reported
that over 70,632,350 user data from the United States have been affected,
followed by Philippines with 1,175870, Indonesia with 1,096,666, UK with
1,079,031, and Mexico, Canada, India, Brazil, Vietnam and Australia follow the
is Cambridge Analytica?
Analytica is an American data mining and communication firm. It is an offshoot
of the British Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and was founded in
2013 with a focus on impacting elections in the United States. The firm offers
its services to political campaigns by analyzing data from multiple sources on
electoral behavior. Initially, in 2015 it was used by Republican candidate Ted
Cruz for his campaign in the United States Presidential Election. Cambridge
Analytica is also reported to have played a part in Donald Trump’s successful
election campaign in 2016.
How to find out if
Cambridge Analytica had access to your data
has started notifying up to 87 million people that their information was
improperly obtained by Cambridge Analytica, but not everyone has received the
one hasn’t seen the prompt in the News Feed, there’s a simple way to check your
help center now has a section that tells whether you were affected.
users will be prompted to change app settings.
users will see a message that specifies whether you or your friends logged into
‘This Is Your Digital Life’, the personality quiz that Cambridge Analytica used
to gather its data.
has promised widespread changes to its platform to prevent further abuse.
According to the company, these actions would prevent any app (such as ‘This Is
Your Digital Life’ quiz) from being able to access so much data.
Companies should restrict
Facebook data sharing
several steps announced by Facebook to improve user privacy, the social
networking firm has pointed out that information in a user’s public profile is
always available, and this includes personal data such as name, gender,
username, profile picture, cover photo, age, language and country. Security
advisers have warned that businesses that use Facebook and have employees who
use the social media platform extensively should be aware that the data is easily
accessible to potential cyber attackers.
researchers have suggested few steps based on the level of privacy:
what you share on Facebook, like not to share the check-in location feature
once in your home.
your profile private.
the applications you give access to. When signing up for a new service, ‘Join
with Facebook’ prompt provides easy access. However, this can provide the
creator of the website to have easy access to your profile.
the applications that have access to your profile currently. Even though the
applications could have harvested all information from your profile, it is advisable
to go through the list regularly and make sure to keep it clean.
surfing the net, be aware that every other service on the Internet has similar
collection mechanisms about your private data. What you search for on Google, the
YouTube videos you watch, your search and buy history on e-commerce platforms
and your browsing pattern, all the information can be stored, analysed and used
to profile you.
The Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal is an eye-opener that exposes the
vulnerabilities associated with use of social media platforms. A recent survey
of 350 Information Technology decision makers showed that the incident has
highlighted issues associated with data privacy, sharing and security. Going
forward, stricter measures will need to be enforced for ensuring total data
protection and safety of the corporate network.
About the Author
Eshita Paul is an Analyst with the Information Services Team of Mitkat Advisory Services.
Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are of the author and do not represent those of MitKat. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.