Hacker or insider: Someone stole data of 29,000 Facebook employees from hard drives

Facebook has informed its employees about the theft of hard drives which included banking as well as other details

Facebook has faced several controversies in the past few years for exposing the personal data of its users. Once again, it made headlines after a thief from a payroll worker's car successfully stole banking data belong to Facebook employees that were stored on unencrypted hard drivers. The social media giant notified its staff about the theft via email on Friday, December 13.

As per the reports, the stolen corporate hard drive contained information on thousands of US-based workers who were employed by Facebook in 2018. The leaked information included bank account numbers, employee names, last four digits of their social security numbers, their salaries, bonuses and equity details.

Facebook data breach


It should be noted that the drives contained personal data for about 29,000 employees. As reported by Bloomberg, a spokesperson from Facebook said that the company worked with "law enforcement as they investigated a recent car break-in and theft of an employee's bag containing company equipment with employee payroll information stored on it."

But since they haven't found any evidence of abuse, the company and investigators believe that the incident was just a smash and grab crime rather than an attempt to steal employee information, said Facebook spokesperson.

Data theft incident

The incident took place on November 17 and the social media company realized that the hard drives were missing on November 20. Later, further investigation revealed that the hard drives included the payroll information of the employees and then the company alerted all the staffs on December 13.

Here, it should be mentioned that the employee who had these hard drives before they got stolen, is a current member of Facebook's payroll department. Since as per the company rules, he was not allowed to take any of these hard drives outside the office premises, the social media company has taken necessary actions against him, said the spokesperson.

However, currently Facebook is working with law and enforcement to recover the information somehow. As of now investigators have neither found those stolen hard drives, nor any detail on the thief. The company asked its employees to notify respective banks and also offered them a two-year subscription to an identity theft monitoring service.

Facebook scandal: Ring a bell


A recent documentary, The Great Hack, explained how all our interaction, credit card swipes, web searches, locations, likes and dislikes were collected in real-time that affected our privacy. It also showed the ugly side of the most popular social media site, Facebook.

The Facebook scandal was about how personal information of more than 80 million people was collected by the political consulting and strategic communication firm Cambridge Analytica. While the firm was behind the pro-Brexit Leave EU campaign and Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, there are other companies who have likely to have used similar tactics to collect personal data of Facebook users.

This article was first published on December 14, 2019
Related topics : Cybersecurity Facebook