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Facebook users aren't that bright - Sunday Mirror

A report in last Sunday's Mirror (opens in new tab) - which I was shown at the Voice Biometrics event in London yesterday - claims that almost half of Facebook users are leaving themselves open to identity theft.

The paper claims that it set up a false `Matt Hifden' ID on facebook - actually an anagram of `ID Theft Man' - and asked 500 Facebookers chosen at random to become his friend.

The Sunday paper said (opens in new tab) that more than 200 agreed, including 32 out of 50 MPs.

This, the paper said, gave Mirror reporters instant access to their private profiles, "many of which revealed information fraudsters can use to create spoof identities, open bank accounts in their name and spend thousands on new credit cards."

The Sunday Mirror says that Matt was supposed to live in the South of England. But anyone checking out his profile would have seen a small plastic chimp grinning out of the page rather than a real person.

Commenting on the research, Sophos' Graham Cluley (opens in new tab) (who else? -Ed) said it was shocking that so many users agreed to become friends with someone they've never met.

"Many obviously feel it is OK to accept friend requests from strangers - but in doing so they are gifting fraudsters with the information they need to steal their identities," he said.

I think you (and the paper) are missing the point Graham - the reality is that the Internet is a new medium for young people, many of whom are willing to take a punt on new friends.

Which is no bad thing in my book...