Facebook Data Breach Under Investigation

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WESLACO – A Rio Grande Valley cyber-security expert warns how your Facebook information could be used against you.

He analyzed the Facebook data that was compromised over 87 million users: birthdays, phone numbers, emails, pictures posted and liked. That's all information that could potentially be out there.

Patrick Davila enjoys time with his friends in real life and online through social media. He says he’s had Facebook since 8th grade.

Davila says when news broke of the information harvested by third-party company Cambridge Analytica, he was unfazed.

"I'm not really surprised about it because we've been willingly put in our information on Facebook for quite some time," he says.

Who you are, what you like, who you know – this is the information you contribute when you create and maintain a Facebook profile.

Cyber-security expert Ray Mendoza says it happened when users took a quiz back in 2013.

"In all of that they are using those questions and answers to build a profile. But also, what's going on in the background is, it's looking to see who your friends are, when their birthdays are, places you've checked in,” he says. “Almost every single activity you can do on Facebook, Cambridge Analytica got a hold of that information."

Mendoza analyzed some of that data for the NSA this week. He says they found over 500 data points were leaked for each user.

He says that can be used against you.

"Definitely the data that was exposed to Cambridge Analytica could be used by an attacker in different ways to take over one's identity or use that information to blackmail different individuals," says Mendoza.

Congress is considering what possible safeguards can be placed on social media sites like Facebook to protect users.

For some, like Davila, the benefits outweigh the risks.

"If I didn't have that website, I probably wouldn't even know what's happening in the world," explains Davila.

He says some of his friends deleted their accounts.

But there is not much you can do to protect your information on social media, since you agree to the terms of service.

Mendoza recommends three things: educate yourself and limit what you share, use Adware blockers, and consider identity monitoring services.

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