A directory containing personal details about more than 100 million Facebook users has surfaced on an Internet file-sharing site.
The 2.8GB torrent was compiled by hacker Ron Bowes of Skull Security, who created a web crawler program that harvested data on users contained in Facebook’s open access directory, which lists all users who haven’t bothered to change their privacy settings to make their pages unavailable to search engines.
Bowes’ directory contains 171 million entries, relating to more than 100 million individual users – more than one in five of Facebook’s recently trumpeted half billion user base.
The file contains user account names and a URL for each user’s profile page, from which details such as addresses, dates of birth or phone numbers can be accessed. Accessing a user’s page from the list will also enable you to click through to friends’ profiles – even if those friends have made themselves non-searchable.
There’s absolutely nothing illegal about what Bowes has done – the information is, after all, publicly available – but perhaps the existence of a stalker’s online black book might finally persuade less security-minded Facebook users to get their arses in gear.
For the many of you who have asked how to fix Facebook’s default settings to expose less of your data, we have posted a beginner’s guide.
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