Facebook founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has brought social media to a standstill in the past few days after his personal data was found among the data leak affecting the privacy and security of 533 million Facebook users in 2019.
According to media reports, not only was the CEO’s personal data like marriage details, location and birthday leaked but it was also established that he uses the Signal app that is a rival to WhatsApp that he owns.
“In another turn of events, Mark Zuckerberg also respects his own privacy, by using a chat app that has end-to-end encryption that isn’t owned by @Facebook”, Dave walker, a security expert, wrote.
Walker further shared a screenshot of the leaked phone number associated with the CEO’s Facebook account that said “Mark Zuckerberg is on signal”.
The company has however been unsuccessful in convincing its users since it became clear WhatsApp is sharing user data with Facebook that has seen users begin to look for alternative secure communication applications like signal and telegram.
Many people have opted to use the signal app that is known for its end-to-end encryption and independent structure as a non-profit organization. Signal was recently used as a communication method for activists, people concerned about privacy, and those in the hacker community until it went mainstream.
Since its inception, the app became more popular during the anti-racist protests around the killing of George Floyd after protestors realized how law enforcers were closely surveilling them and asking companies to hand over user data that saw many people sign up on Signal.
The signal app is a free, privacy-focused messaging voice talk and messaging app on iOS and Android devices as well as desktop personal computers either using standalone applications or through Bluestacks emulator.
It however does not have many fancy customization features like WhatsApp Web that has a background feature.
The app has encryption technology that keeps its messages secret open source and have held up to professional scrutiny.
Open Whisper System (OWS) has shared the encryption technology behind signal with other messaging services including those made by Google and Facebook and established that it follows the end-to-end encryption in all chat options as required, which has not been implemented by others.
Further, Columbia University Cryptography Laboratory Director Tal Malkin approved Signals’ cutting-edge cryptography and the robust nature of its open-source development.
The signal app does not collect data because it is a non-profit organization and not a profit company. It is funded by grants and private investors who have a huge personal interest in making a privacy-oriented platform.
The application was created by a small group of activists in 2013 and has seen a lot of growth in recent years.
Leaked Facebook data
The data leaked online on (April 3) included personal information of over 533 million Facebook users from 106 countries.
It was first tinted by an Israeli Security Researcher Alon Gal on his Twitter in early 2020 when he came across a massive data dump on the web and kept it open for everyone to access.
The data that included phone numbers, Facebook IDs, full names, locations, bios, birthdays, and even email addresses were from 32 million users in the US, 11 million users in the United Kingdom, and six million users in India.
Facebook however said that the data was scrapped due to vulnerability in the social networking site that was strengthened in 2019 after it reported the issue in 2019.
Alon argued that even after the issue was fixed by Facebook, it continued to offer information to cybercriminals.
Hudson Rock Chief Technical Officer Alon Gal further said that the 533 million Facebook records were leaked for free meaning it is most likely that the phone number used was leaked if you have a Facebook account.
According to an Analytics firm App Annie, Signal has become the fastest-growing apps worldwide including India in both monthly active users and downloads in the first quarter of 2020.