LAS VEGAS--A researcher has compiled a list of more than 170 million Facebook users and the Web address of their profile page on the site and released it on a file-sharing site, meaning it is making the rounds of thousands of computers instead of just being accessible via a search on Facebook.
Ron Bowes wrote a script to download all Facebook profiles listed in the social network's public profile directory, which only includes people who have configured their settings for Public Search Listings to be available on Facebook.
In a blog post earlier this week on Skull Security, Bowes said he downloaded information on 171 million Facebook users, roughly one third of the estimated total of 500 million. (The Skull Security site was inaccessible Thursday morning, but a cached version showed the contents.)
"I realized that this is a scary privacy issue," Bowes wrote. "I can find the name of pretty much every person on Facebook."
Bowes said Facebook users can change their settings so they do not appear in the public directory going forward, but even people who do that now will have their information available via Bowes' torrent file available on the file-sharing site Pirate Bay. There have been more than 10,000 downloads of the file.… Read more