Facebook Attack: Data of 100 Million Users Collected & Published

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and it is now available for a free download!

Scary, isn’t it? 100 million Facebook users essentially means every fifth account.

Data for 100 million Facebook users snatched

A couple hours after the publishing of this database, BBC picked up the news writing:

Ron Bowes used a piece of code to scan Facebook profiles, collecting data not hidden by the user’s privacy settings.

The list, which has been shared as a downloadable file, contains the URL of every searchable Facebook user’s profile, their name and unique ID.

Mr Bowes said he published the data to highlight privacy issues, but Facebook said it was already public information.

Two of the comments under the torrent download page (shown in the above screenshot) belong to Ron Bowes himself who wrote:

This is awesome and a little terrifying.

I hope people see this and look over their privacy settings now, still so many out there not locking down their profiles.

Another commenter pointed out:

…as a developer I already have access to what could be deemed personal and private data through the Facebook API

Facebook itself commented to BBC:

People who use Facebook own their information and have the right to share only what they want, with whom they want, and when they want.

In this case, information that people have agreed to make public was collected by a single researcher and already exists in Google, Bing, other search engines, as well as on Facebook.

No private data is available or has been compromised

What do you think? Was it the users’ responsibility to make sure they change their default settings to make their information more secure, or did Facebook have to make those default setting more secure a priori?

3 thoughts on “Facebook Attack: Data of 100 Million Users Collected & Published

  1. @Andy….

    Why is this disgracefull?? This information is in the public domain because people have left it out their in the public domain. No other reason. Facebook should NEVER be in a position to pick and choose what information WE can and cannot share. It is up to the users themselves to do that.

    The purpose of social networking is to maintain communication channels between friends either past or present. People choose to put their information into the public domain so they can easily be found. Making a fuss over this is utter nonsense.

    If anyone is upset at being found on this list it is no ones fault but their own. I had a look at my own privacy settings this morning and comments that it is difficult or complex to check are an utter joke.

  2. @ Robbohk……

    I agree completely. If users are not smart enough to manage what is being shared and what is not on a social site, then they should not be using that program. It is easy to sit and point fingers but the bottom line is it is YOUR information. Manage it or do not put it out there. Social media has an inherent risk that people will try and grab your data. I guess you inherently accept that risk when you participate. Whether it be blogs, facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc. You are putting information out there about yourself into cyberspace.
    Now if facebook was not providing the ability for you to limit who could and could not see your information then this becomes an entirely different argument. Or if they had breached those security settings and accessed “friends only” information, not being a friend. Also a different argument.

    Be responsible for your actions and information.

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