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Data Harvest Reveals Massive Flaws in Facebook Account Privacy

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Reminders that our online information might not be quite as secure as we thought are coming thick and fast at the moment. This time around, rather than any information ending up in the hands of some sinister entity, the perpetrator has done it to demonstrate to Facebook the inherent flaws in their security system. The man in question, a software developer named Reza Moaiandin, was able to pull profile data from thousands of Facebook accounts simply by guessing their mobile numbers.

The profiles in question were all directly linked to their mobile phone numbers and through that gateway Moaiandin was able to get their names, ages, locations and pictures, among other things. He did this by exploiting a security loophole which enables users to find other users simply by searching for their mobile numbers, it even takes numbers which have been kept private into account. He generated the numbers using an algorithm, put them through the search function and suddenly he was in possession of thousands of accounts' worth of profile data.

The data itself was all public, but the idea of people being able to track your account down so easily might be unnerving to some. More worryingly, such a large accumulation of profile data would have a huge black market price tag. More well known people, or people more vulnerable to threat are also put under risk of either having their mobile numbers or even more disconcertingly, their location, easily found. Accordingly, Facebook are now under major pressure to address the issue and generally tighten up their security.

Moaiandin and others have suggested that Facebook need to add another layer of encryption to block people from seeing profile information for users they aren't friends with. Beyond that, users have been advised by some to keep their mobile numbers off Facebook entirely, rather than risking any loopholes being exploited.

Facebook themselves would rather people simply made use of their own privacy basics tool, but until they actually show that they've taken measures to improve, mistrust will continue to increase.


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Data Harvest Reveals Massive Flaws in Facebook Account Privacy Reviewed by Callum Davies on Thursday, August 13, 2015 Rating: 5
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