Over 100m Facebook profiles harvested, available in torrentBy Matthew DeCarlo 20 comments
Just as concerns over Facebook privacy started to fade out of the headlines, a hacker has rekindled the fire by making over 100 million profiles available in a single gift-wrapped download. Ron Bowes of Skull Security compiled the 2.8GB torrent (which is currently available on TPB) by creating a web crawler to harvest the data of users listed on Facebook's open access directory.
The package contains profile URLs revealing the names, addresses, dates of birth, and phone numbers of 171 million members (around 100 million unique) -- more than one in five of Facebook's half billion user base. Viewing an individual's profile supposedly gives access to their friends' pages too - even those who have made themselves non-searchable. The torrent also has the tools used to collect the data.
Since all the information is publicly available, Bowes hasn't violated any laws. This doesn't necessarily count as "failure" on Facebook's end either, but it underscores a question many have asked from initial privacy upheaval: should users be exposed by default regardless of opt-out features? If you're not sure how your account is configured, you may want to read our guide on Facebook privacy.