How to check if Facebook handed your data over to Cambridge Analytica
May 9, 2018
You’ve most likely heard a lot about Facebook in the news recently. In case you missed it, it was due to a serious breach of trust, in which they allowed a company called Cambridge Analytica to harvest millions of peoples’ details – without those people knowing – for political gain and profiteering. To add further insult, they kept it under wraps and tried to play the matter down.
Unfortunately, 87 million people – including more than a million UK users – had their data deceivingly taken; their names, date of birth, where they were born, everywhere they’ve ever been, the details of their friends and families, their private Facebook messages and more!
Who are Cambridge Analytica and why did they do this?
Cambridge Analytica are a political consulting firm. Basically, an organisation that helps political parties achieve their goals and ultimately win votes. They frequently used vast amounts of data to help them do this, hence their interest in mining all of our details.
How did they do this?
You’ve seen all those games (Farmville, Poker, etc.) that people play, as well as personality quizzes, star signs, and more. Cambridge Analytica took advantage of Facebook tools for those that create these sorts of games and quizzes, and made a personality test. The real aim of this test was to gather as much data on you and all your friends as possible. Sneaky!
I never took part in a personality quiz. Am I OK?
Maybe, but maybe not. Unfortunately, even if you didn’t take part, if one of your friends did, then there’s a chance Cambridge Analytica now know a lot about you. If your friend took the quiz, and that friend can see your name, date of birth, city, phone number, and you’ve told all your secrets to that person via private messages, then there’s a good chance Cambridge Analytica also had a good look, and also took a copy of the data for themselves.
How can I know if they got my data?
Facebook have had a grilling and the bad publicity has not been good for them. They’re doing their best to fix that, and to earn back the trust of users again. Part of this has included them releasing a tool that will tell you if any of your data made it to Cambridge Analytica. It’ll make the clear distinction as to whether you took the quiz, or whether a friend did who unintentionally shared your data with them.
And if it was the latter, well unfortunately Facebook aren’t willing to disclose which friend that was. That wouldn’t be nice now would it?
Click here to check if your data was compromised by this. Remember, you’ll need to be logged into Facebook to see this.
The tool says I was compromised! How can I stop this happening to me again?
In instances like this, there is little you can do. This is not a typical data breach in which Facebook was hacked and which resulted in your data being stolen. Your password was not revealed and your account is still safe.
Thankfully, there is a new law being enforced shortly, known as GDPR, or General Data Protection Regulation. It’s a big deal and lots of businesses are responding to it. For people like you and I, that means increased requirements to protect our data, and big penalties if those rules are not adhere to. Things like this are less likely to happen once this law comes into force on 25th May 2018.
How are your passwords?
To take the best possible precautions however, you should be smart with your passwords. Most data breaches (like the recent MyFitnessPal and Twitter) usually involve your password being revealed. If you only use one password, then one breach exposes all your online accounts. Whereas, a different password for every website and app you use, means that the collateral damage is reduced significantly. That password that has been breached exposes that one website and your data, but not all the data across all of your accounts!
We know it’s impossible to have a complex password, never mind a different complex password for every website you use. A password manager like LastPass can store all your passwords safely and securely.
Keep an eye on your credit history.
When a substantial amount of your data is exposed, criminals looking to steal identities have everything they need. Your name, date of birth, address details, mother’s maiden name, etc. They have all they need to open a credit card in your name ready for a shopping spree.
Keeping an eye on your credit history is essential. Regularly check up on your history to make sure there’s nothing in there that you don’t recognise.
How we look after your data.
We take great care of your data. Whenever our customers apply for a short term loan with LoanlineUK, we ensure we are following best practice, and employ security mechanisms to transmit and store your data in the most secure and compliant way. We understand GDPR and our responsibilities, and want to ensure you feel comfortable using our service. We value your trust and custom, and want to retain that.