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A security researcher discovered the personal data of over 267 million Facebook users on a freely accessible database. The users were nearly all U.S. based and the data found included names, phone numbers and unique user IDs, reports Associated Press.

The researcher, Bob Diachenko, said the data was likely harvested by criminals.

“The evidence suggests the data was collected illegally, most likely by criminals in Vietnam who may have ‘scraped’ it from public Facebook pages or by somehow obtaining privileged access to the service. Scraping is automated data-harvesting done by bots. A small fraction of the database include details on Vietnam-based users,” reports Associated Press.

What You Can Do:

In an email to its customers concerning the data exposure, Norton advises Facebook users to change their privacy settings to protect their personal information.

Tips from Norton:
Go to Settings & Privacy in Facebook
Click Privacy Shortcuts
Click See more privacy settings
Set all relevant fields to **Friends** or **Only me**
Set **”Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile** to **No**

Also, users are advised to be on the lookout for phishing emails, which may appear to come from a familiar source or use personal information. Be wary of emails or phone calls with urgent requests for help and/or secrecy. Also be aware of emails from unfamiliar sources that contain links or attachments that you were not expecting. Do not click on these links, as they could be embedded with malware.

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