Are Facebook users laying themselves open to exploitation and even danger through their profile settings?
That is the question I found myself asking after receiving the very same ominous message for a third time, each from a different facebook friend.
” If somebody called email@example.com adds you to their Facebook account DON’T accept it because its a hacker.Tell everyone on your list because if someone on your list adds them you get them on your list he’ll figure out your ID co,puter address. So copy and paste this message to everyone even if you hate them and fast because if he hacks their mail he hacks yours. “
Is the person in question an extremely talented individual with vast amounts of time and resources to hand, that will systematically ‘farm’ facebook profiles harvesting private information for some nefarious master plan? Or, one cup of tea later, I found myself wondering if this could be the broadband – social networking equivalent of the chain letter?
My curiosity sufficiently aroused, I decide to fire up webfetch and do some investigating. Warning to all facebook profile owners, you are going to be a little upset from this point in!
” at most, the name and profile picture of any Facebook member “
If you read the privacy settings in your facebook account it states “A public search listing provides, at most, the name and profile picture of any Facebook member that has their search privacy settings set to ‘Everyone’ It will show less information about a person than results of a search performed by someone logged in to Facebook”. Here is the truth!
security of data
The infamous firstname.lastname@example.org isn’t actually a hacker after all! However the ‘Compare People’ application is making your profile and that of every single member of your friends group available to buy for just $10 american!
” we all get random friends invites… “
Which would explain why we all get random friends invites from facebook members that have hundreds of friends with little or no connection. Often that member has only had a profile for a matter of weeks, and invites many random new friends each and every day!
Not everyone on facebook is your friend! Just because someone requests to be your ‘friend’ doesn’t mean that you should automatically agree. Read about ‘Freddi Staurâ‘ ( anagram of ‘ID Fraudster’) and his access to e-mail addresses, dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers, and school or work data.
Facebook and the American courts
Facebook has been asked questions by the Office of the Attorney General for New York State – Andrew Cuomo, regarding safety measures in place on its website. I am not going to comment however it makes interesting reading.
- The website of the Office of the Attorney General for New York State.
- The documentation sent to Facebook.
Imagine these potential scenariosâ€¦
- A local criminal makes friends with those in his area. Happy to learn that you’ll be on all week and your house is empty.
- Your child unknowingly adds a paedophile to their list of friends. Now he has photos, the school they attend and knows what after school clubs they attend.
- You add a hacker to your list of friends and they learn you love anything connected with the Simpsons. Then comes the invite from your new ‘friend’ to join a new Bart Simpson game you MUST download.
If you do decide to add “friends” you don’t know, make sure you’ve correctly configured your ‘limited’ profile!
While researching this article I found a thought provoking video, made before these more recent events. Have a look.