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Facebook Confirms Data Breach

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the you-like-this dept.

Facebook 155

another random user writes "A researcher by the name of Suriya Prakash has claimed that the majority of phone numbers on Facebook are not safe. It's not clear where he got his numbers from (he says 98 percent, while another time he says 500 million out of Facebook's 600 million mobile users), but his demonstration certainly showed he could collect countless phone numbers and their corresponding Facebook names with very little effort. Facebook has confirmed that it limited Prakash's activity but it's unclear how long it took to do so. Prakash disagrees with when Facebook says his activity was curtailed." Update: 10/11 17:47 GMT by T : Fred Wolens of Facebook says this isn't an exploit at all, writing "The ability to search for a person by phone number is intentional behavior and not a bug in Facebook. By default, your privacy settings allow everyone to find you with search and friend finder using the contact info you have provided, such as your email address and phone number. You can modify these settings at any time from the Privacy Settings page. Facebook has developed an extensive system for preventing the malicious usage of our search functionality and the scenario described by the researcher was indeed rate-limited and eventually blocked." Update: 10/11 20:25 GMT by T : Suriya Prakash writes with one more note: "Yes, it is a feature of FB and not a bug.but FB never managed to block me; the vul was in m.facebook.com. Read my original post. Many other security researchers also confirmed the existence of this bug; FB did not fix it until all the media coverage." Some of the issue is no doubt semantic; if you have a Facebook account that shows your number, though, you can decide how much you care about the degree to which the data is visible or findable.

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155 comments

Phonebook (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 2 years ago | (#41618537)

A friend sent me an email a couple of years ago saying "Did you know that you have your phone number on FaceBook?". I said "Yes, I also have it in the phonebook".

Re:Phonebook (4, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | about 2 years ago | (#41618615)

Actually, I just looked and noticed that Facebook has my phone number. I don't remember ever giving it to them, since I specifically don't want them sending me text messages (I don't have a texting plan and each text is a charge).

When I click to remove it, it says "You will no longer be able to use this phone to receive notifications or upload any photos and videos to Facebook."

Perhaps they got my number because I installed the app on my phone? I just don't remember explicitly giving it to them.

Re:Phonebook (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618807)

You're dumb so you blame Facebook? How Slashdot of you.

Re:Phonebook (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618917)

You're rude so you blame people on Slashdot? How internet of you.

Re:Phonebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619203)

This comment doesn't even make sense. He's not blaming anyone for his rudeness.

Re:Phonebook (4, Interesting)

Crayon Kid (700279) | about 2 years ago | (#41618993)

You probably don't remember this, but when you first started using the Facebook application on your phone you had to confirm your phone number. You probably got a text with a code you had to enter or something like that.

You can remove the number, as you noticed, but I'd be really skeptical whether they actually remove it. I suspect they don't, since it's a great way of tracking people across multiple accounts. As you experienced yourself, people often forget that they made Facebook aware of their personal phone number at some point in time.

Consider for example the case of someone who becomes more privacy-aware, closes their initial FB account then later opens another when where he is more guarded about who he friends and what he publishes. And he thinks he's leaving less of an online footprint... when in reality I bet FB is tying it all in with his previous account.

I just refused to install the Facebook app (4, Informative)

bdwoolman (561635) | about 2 years ago | (#41619083)

I grudgingly use Facebook (Forcebook, Farcebook, Facebroke, Facebork) because so many of my real friends from overseas postings here and there can be found on it. They move around, too, and, well, it just makes sense.. My Android phone just offered me the opportunity to install the FB app when I checked an email message from Facebook -- A friend request from a German pal of mine from my days in Armenia (See?) He's in Uraguay it seems. Well, when I was ready to do the install I read the permissions list.Holy privacy invasion, Batman! It was going to do all the crap I painstakingly don't let the creepy site do on my web browser (it is a battle). And then it was going track my location to boot.

Bondsbw, you so gave them permission to have your phone when you installed that app. Moreover, you also gave them permission to marry your firstborn child off to the evil sorcerer Zuck when he or she comes of age. (The sorcerer swings both ways.) Oh, I forgot F*ckedbook.

Re:I just refused to install the Facebook app (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619365)

Oh, I forgot F*ckedbook.

you don't have to have ex girlfriends on facebook

Re:I just refused to install the Facebook app (2)

FreonTrip (694097) | about 2 years ago | (#41619493)

I was always partial to "Fartbeak," myself, mostly because I wonder what the mascot would look like.

Re:Phonebook (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618665)

Phonebook? Is that like an e-book on your phone?

One teensy weensy difference... (5, Interesting)

Viol8 (599362) | about 2 years ago | (#41618687)

Phonebooks were generally only easily available in the area you lived in and not accessable by Vlad in Minsk who wants to collect as much data as he can on you to impersonate you to a bank. Not only that , but once data is on a computer a lot of things can be automated. When its in barely readable type in a large book its a bit more effort.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618783)

Phonebooks for other areas were easily obtained public library being one good place to go, and there was good old Directory Assistance too...

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

SomePoorSchmuck (183775) | about 2 years ago | (#41619483)

Phonebooks for other areas were easily obtained public library being one good place to go, and there was good old Directory Assistance too...

In a word, "No".

At what point before the digitization/Internetization of data in the late 90s could you walk into the public library in Ekalaka, Montana, and ask to use a phone book for Harpers Ferry, West Virginia? Calling directory Assistance wasn't free, nor was mass-harvesting numbers from it anything other than cumbersome.

Pretty much all the replies to Viol8's post completely whooshed.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

jkiller (1030766) | about 2 years ago | (#41619693)

At what point before the digitization/Internetization of data in the late 90s could you walk into the public library in Ekalaka, Montana, and ask to use a phone book for Harpers Ferry, West Virginia?

Oblig... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9pXiFG3z5M [youtube.com]

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618809)

I remember in the mid 80s buying entire united states phonebooks on disks...

In the 90s it was a giveaway with many computers on a CD.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

qwe4rty (2599703) | about 2 years ago | (#41618821)

Yeah, I suppose that stops him from dialing random numbers and picking up names from answering machines.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

Deep Esophagus (686515) | about 2 years ago | (#41619317)

Yeah, I suppose that stops him from dialing random numbers and picking up names from answering machines.

That's exactly why our answering machine just as a flat "Please leave your name and number at the sound of the tone."

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (5, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#41618837)

It's a good thing there are no phone books on the Internet [whitepages.com] , isn't it?

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619099)

I highly suggest: http://msn.whitepages.com/

No fees.

-Average Windows User

Wow, does that do the whole world?? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 2 years ago | (#41619617)

Oh wait, no it doesn't. Plus you have to actively search for people rather than just skimming off data while following links between user pages.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618867)

You're joking right? 411 and other such online phonebooks have been around for more than a decade.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (2)

Crayon Kid (700279) | about 2 years ago | (#41619123)

Phonebooks were generally only easily available in the area you lived in and not accessable by Vlad in Minsk who wants to collect as much data as he can on you to impersonate you to a bank. Not only that , but once data is on a computer a lot of things can be automated.

So if I get this right, your solution to the fact that the US has a major identity theft problem is "would everybody be so kind and ignore it", or perhaps "bad guys, please don't use computers"? I'm afraid it may not work very well.

I'm not even sure what's with the American paranoia against unique ID cards. It's not like not having them grants you any anonimity. If anybody (including your .gov) wants to find stuff out about you, they do. You already have unique social numbers, so all the worse parts of being uniquely identifiable in a centralized database are already happening. You're just missing out on all the good parts, such as limiting identity theft, or a comprehensive civil registry. I mean, it's ridiculous that in the US you can't really prove you've never been married.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#41619221)

We chafe against national ID cards because we are supposed to be a Union of independent states. The whole idea of having many states is to enjoy variation in law.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#41619679)

The problem isn't with the IDs. It isn't. Not even close. The problem is that we are convenience oriented society that wants everything nice and easy. Problem is not with the IDs but those that trust random people using random IDs and issuing huge lines of credit to them, without verifying that the person presenting the ID is who they say they are, because that is not convenient.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619281)

If we had ID cards, we would have ID numbers, which if stolen would stop any problem how?

Are you implying that countries with ID cards don't have identity theft? Because we do have cards that are required for a large number of things, and it's called a drivers license/state ID.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#41619363)

Phonebooks were generally only easily available in the area you lived in and not accessable by Vlad in Minsk

Until about 1990 when they were available online.

When its in barely readable type in a large book its a bit more effort.

OCR can read a phonebook as as fast as you can feed pages into a scanner.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619511)

Actually isn't that how Ray Kurzweil got started in the mid-'70's. His reading machine was first used to digitize the phone book. Seems AT&T would not sell their content directly but the phone books were available w/o restriction. The mag tapes of phone numbers were one of his first commercial products.

Re:One teensy weensy difference... (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | about 2 years ago | (#41619637)

" Vlad in Minsk who wants to collect as much data as he can on you to impersonate you to a bank."

This is a problem, but not with privacy, but with impersonation. Banks (and those like them) that take phony credentials to allow people to open up lines of credit and rip people off. The fix for this is painful, but really necessary, make banks eat the cost without being able to write it off as a cost of business. It isn't a cost of business, it is complicity in fraud.

What ever happened to due diligence?

Re:Phonebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618699)

However, the way a phonebook is made makes it unfeasible to use it any way but going with one phone number at a time (and the tiny font of phonebooks are a pain for OCR, and even then you'd be scanning a single page at a time, and at most you only get the name of the owner of said line). This allows building up huge detailed databases in short amounts of time, besides in the case of land lines the phone would be probably listed among all the people using it, not just the owner.

Re:Phonebook (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41618877)

You can buy these lists already made.

Re:Phonebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619113)

News For Idiots, Stuff that doesn't matter.

I bought a US phone book on CD-ROM in a bargin bin in the 90s.

Wow, you people here are dumb.

Re:Phonebook (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#41619231)

Well, I've moved a couple of time since then, so I'm safe.

Right?

Re:Phonebook (1)

alostpacket (1972110) | about 2 years ago | (#41618703)

I'd say the issue here is not connecting a number with a person but rather that many of these numbers are mobile phone numbers. This can lead to a significant amount of SMS spam, phishing and other nasty stuff. In the days of phonebooks, while there were robo-dialers and whatnot, the volume and availability of automating this kind of spam has increased exponentially.

Re:Phonebook (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 2 years ago | (#41618971)

Yeah, but scammers had to originally tear out pages and hand them to call reps, which was time consuming and man-hour intensive. Now all they have to do is slip them all into a modem call list and when you pick up, they have your home address and full name on screen and linked up ready to jump straight into "Hello Mr Fest. I am calling from Windows Techincal Support about your home computer. You currently reside at $address, correct?".

It's like the bastard child of spear phishing and cold call scamming.

Re:Phonebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619079)

They have had this sort of thing for years. You can buy lists already online. I had sever CDs of the things over the years. There are a few companies out there that this is their only product...

This data breach is just another way scamers can get the number.

My dad used to buy lists for his office that came in huge phonebooks of listed AND unlisted numbers. That has not gone away... It now is even easier to get the data on a DVD shipped to you. There are probably online soap and rest services for it...

Re:Phonebook (5, Insightful)

Thruen (753567) | about 2 years ago | (#41619171)

The phone book doesn't have my cell phone number, or most other peoples' cell phone numbers, but that is what Facebook has most of the time. The phone book doesn't have photos of me, my friends, and my family so as to positively identify me from anyone else in the world who might share my (relatively common) name. The phone book doesn't not allow me to find people by interest so I can find people to call and sell my products to. The phone book requires you to know pretty specifically who you are looking for in order to find them without using the trial and error method. Oh, and lastly, you know the phone book is going to list your number unless you do something about it, and many people choose not to have their number listed, Facebook was never supposed to list your number and so people gave it to them expecting it to remain private. So, while you might not care that Facebook decided to show your number, plenty of people would be bothered by it. It isn't the end of the world or anything, but to downplay it and equate it to having your number in the phone book is a just a bit crazy. Oh, and a point I nearly forgot, lots of teenagers have their cell phone numbers in their Facebook accounts, and without tackling why they shouldn't to begin with, those numbers should definitely not be available publicly.

Safegaurding anonymity (2, Informative)

Picass0 (147474) | about 2 years ago | (#41619421)

I hope I don't sound trollish, but it is ultimate your responsibility to safegaurd information you don't want passed around. Reliance on Facebook to safegaurd your stuff implies they care about a few phone numbers, or private photos, or whatever. They don't. They'll write some form letter to everyone and apologize and then go back to fretting about their stock price.

At Facebook you the product for sale. As long as you keep coming back they don't have a problem.

Re:Safegaurding anonymity (1)

Thruen (753567) | about 2 years ago | (#41619703)

The big problem with this logic is that you do need to give out your personal information to sign up for various services, and the truth is nobody else really gives a damn unless it's regulated, and at that point they only care about the regulations. I'm not saying you're altogether wrong, it's definitely a good idea to keep things you want to stay private off of services like Facebook (or Google+ or Myspace) but that doesn't make it in any way acceptable when they publish information they claimed would be kept private. You can solve all of your computer-related woes by avoiding computers, but you really shouldn't have to...

Re:Phonebook (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | about 2 years ago | (#41619469)

Facebook does not have my phone number, my address, photos of me and my family. I can not be found by interest on Facebook.
The problem here is not Facebooks security. Everyone has known for years it is shit.
You have known for years Facebook is shit for privacy. You have had to have known. I can tell that by the fact that you seem to be able to string more than one sentence together to form coherent thoughts.
You made a choice to give up your privacy in order to be able to "like" things and post on peoples walls.
For me the choice seemed like a bad one. For you it seemed like a good one.
You do not hear me bitching about not being able to share my life with strangers. You should not bitch about your informed choice either.

Re:Phonebook (2)

Thruen (753567) | about 2 years ago | (#41619793)

Personally, I'm not bitching, Facebook doesn't have anything of mine I need kept private. They have my name, and some pictures I wanted to share with family and friends, none of which even include any people. I keep it simple partly because I don't trust Facebook, mostly because I don't use it often and don't care to. Facebook is an optional service, sure, you don't need it at all, but as much as I used to hate on it, it does provide a number of benefits for people who want to use it. You can tell people they shouldn't share so much and that's all well and good, but you shouldn't have to avoid services like Facebook because you can't trust them, it should piss people off when things like this happen. Any time you use a service and it doesn't operate as they claim it should, you should be pissed off. Like I said above, you can avoid all of your computer-related woes by staying off the computer, but you really shouldn't have to.

Your private data is safe with us. No, really. (1)

dna_(c)(tm)(r) (618003) | about 2 years ago | (#41619269)

A friend sent me an email a couple of years ago saying "Did you know that you have your phone number on FaceBook?". I said "Yes, I also have it in the phonebook".

Except that you can opt-out form the phonebook with an unlisted number. Facebook harvests your phone number and your contacts phone numbers, names email addresses. Potentially they can access IMEI, record sound and take pictures at any time (not just when you click a button), manage your accounts (not sure if they can retrieve anything from other accounts like email etc...)

Re:Phonebook (1)

jest3r (458429) | about 2 years ago | (#41619417)

A friend sent me an email a couple of years ago saying "Did you know that you have your phone number on FaceBook?". I said "Yes, I also have it in the phonebook".

Do you also have your photo in the phonebook?

So? (4, Insightful)

backslashdot (95548) | about 2 years ago | (#41618551)

Remember phone books? It used to be possible to match people with not only their phone number but their home address too.

Anecdote Time! (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#41618721)

Remember phone books? It used to be possible to match people with not only their phone number but their home address too.

Ah, yes! And let me tell you a story about that! I used to have a very common name. So common that according to the latest census there are 40,000 of me walking around the United States (first and last name). I have met myself (first, middle and last) four times and the second time I met myself I was 19 and he was 20 and he said to me: "Don't you ever let your name be published in the phone book" (as advice from one being raised in a major metropolis and I being raised in a very small town) and then went on to describe at length how, when he turned 18, he started receiving odd phone calls from credit card companies demanding he pay up tens of thousands of debt. After months of harassment, he finally got it all straightened out with one of the credit bureaus who then basically had to show the credit card companies that his records and the records of the real person they were looking for were completely different. The other odd thing was that the address the credit card companies had on file had the same exact abbreviations as his address in the phone book and the person had "moved" to that address right when my friend turned 18 and had his name put in the phone book.

Is it a common problem? Maybe not ... but I'd just as well keep as much of my life private as possible ... to avoid whatever creative scofflaw there might be out there.

Re:Anecdote Time! (4, Funny)

SIR_Taco (467460) | about 2 years ago | (#41618825)

...

I used to have a very common name. So common that according to the latest census there are 40,000 of me walking around the United States (first and last name). I have met myself (first, middle and last) four times and the second time I met myself I was 19

...

John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt? That's my name, too!

Re:Anecdote Time! (1)

flanders123 (871781) | about 2 years ago | (#41619303)

Sounds like my "friend", Joey Jo-Jo Junior Shabadoo.

Re:Anecdote Time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619069)

Yes. Scrubby companies using shotgun approaches to find people, even sending mail and messages to NEIGHBORS to find out anything they can on the person they are targeting, even if those people weren't the target.
They use anything they can to find people, letters, voting records, and more and more these days using the web.

I've seen it all over consumer action websites and it even happened to me once. I got letters for months from some company that still exists for some absolutely retarded reason. Why they haven't been punished for harassment is beyond me.

Visit from the FBI (1)

KatchooNJ (173554) | about 2 years ago | (#41619471)

This reminds me of when the FBI visited my grandfather because he had the same name as some mafia guy who happened to live nearby. I remember him having to sign paperwork swearing he wasn't the same guy as the criminal. lol Crazy stuff! This was in the late 80s, btw.

Re:Visit from the FBI (2)

SecurityGuy (217807) | about 2 years ago | (#41619663)

That's hilarious. I suppose the real criminal NEVER would have signed paperwork swearing he wasn't the real criminal.

Re:Visit from the FBI (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619749)

Of course he would have. But if the feds can then identify him some other way, they can then tag him on perjury charges if nothing else.

Re:Anecdote Time! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619769)

His name is Robert Paulson

Remember crisscross directories? (1)

wiredog (43288) | about 2 years ago | (#41618819)

Where you could look up a phone number given an address?

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618857)

Yeah and in phone book you could also get the person's picture, where they grew up, where they live, what they like, what's their birthday, who they are married to, how many kids they have... oh wait you can't.

Now that companies are no longer allowed to use your SS#, and most people keep their phone number even if they switch carriers, your phone number is the most identifying piece of information that exists about you.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619015)

Hello, Katherine Brewster ? John Connor ? just your mother calling ...

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619053)

OMG! You mean someone could possibly link a phonebook entry with a map application and get driving direction to my home using only my phone number! NOOOO!

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619175)

> It used to be possible to match people with not only their phone number but their home address too.

Now, that didn't work out too well for Sarah Connor, did it? :-p

Re:So? (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#41619499)

The problem is cell phones. Most are paying by the minute. Phone books only list landlines, which don't bill you for calls recieved.

Breaks my heart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618559)

Well, I'm safe. I tried fb for a year or so, never really did do anthing much on it. Sorry for the millions who do. I'm very sad. Very very.... sa-aad.

Facebook is (2)

kiriath (2670145) | about 2 years ago | (#41618563)

One giant privacy breach anyway. I mean seriously, they churn your personal lives into gold.

Not much right now, but SOMEDAY they will churn your personal lives into gold.

Re:Facebook is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618631)

Some day some how some thing may in some way make some one maybe not so much gold for some reason.

Re:Facebook is (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | about 2 years ago | (#41618679)

Implying that most people's personal lives are worth gold. Which they aren't. I don't know the exact numbers, but I know that marketing data per capita is very cheap. You are not worth very much at all.

Re:Facebook is (0)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#41618987)

There are different levels of data with different levels of worth:
  1. name and address - lets them send junk mail - pennies
  2. hobbies interests and profession - lets them target you specifically - small dollars
  3. recent web searches / current activities - lets them advertise product that you are currently trying to buy - tens of dollars per year
  4. detailed personal information - lets them impersonate you - tens to hundreds of dollars
  5. full personal account and password info - lets them clean out your bank account / take out loans in your name which are likely to be enforceable in court - thousands to tens of thousands

Notice that, in the end, your data may actually be worth more than you are. Traditional marketing had wet dreams around full access to the first two. Google provides services equivalent to the use of the first two and controlled access the next. Facebook is providing temporary use of the fourth by allowing apps to do things as if they were you and beginning to gather the fifth. Notice that your Microsoft Hotmail account is protected with your mobile phone number and that Facebook keeps both of those together even if you have never created a Facebook account. This gets to be worse if your mobile phone account is controlled from your email address as is becoming more and more common.

"not safe"? (3, Insightful)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#41618575)

How is a phone number "not safe"?

Its a new one on me to have an infected phone number. I guess they mean "not secret".

And who cares? Ever heard of phone directories? You can find millions of phone numbers in there. Including mine. Phone spammers have lists anyway or just have dialers that try every number in a range till one answers.

Re:"not safe"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618663)

but now they can tie it to a name ...

Re:"not safe"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618717)

I think the problem is not so much the phone numbers, as that it is possible to obtain the information. Where someone can obtain phone numbers, could they also obtain other information?

It's more a problem with the breech itself, rather than the data that was obtained.

Re:"not safe"? (1)

Jawnn (445279) | about 2 years ago | (#41618701)

How is a phone number "not safe"?

Seriously? Dude, use your imagination just a little bit here...

Re:"not safe"? (1)

1u3hr (530656) | about 2 years ago | (#41619453)

How is a phone number "not safe"?

Seriously? Dude, use your imagination just a little bit here...

Something to do with the Necronomicon?

Re:"not safe"? (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#41618883)

I think this is about mobile numbers - mine certainly isn't published in any publicly available phone book and I try not to give it out to anyone who doesn't need it.

Offtopic - "another random user" (-1, Offtopic)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 2 years ago | (#41618577)

Anyone else notice that "anonymous submitter" has become "another random user"?

Re:Offtopic - "another random user" (1)

Dupple (1016592) | about 2 years ago | (#41618633)

"another random user" is, if I remember correctly, an actual users name. I've had a couple of stories posted where my user name is up there but is not a link. It sometimes happens like here

http://slashdot.org/submission/2281279/microsoft-calls-for-5b-investment-in-us-education [slashdot.org]

Re:Offtopic - "another random user" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618735)

As a truly anonymous and mostly coward user, I did notice and was a irked by that.

I'm both amazed and vexed at the current trend of using "random" for very disparate meanings. Oh well, that's how language evolves, I suppose.

Re:Offtopic - "another random user" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618765)

Curses! I [_______] a couple of [________] there.

Need a Survey / Cognitive Risk (4, Interesting)

retroworks (652802) | about 2 years ago | (#41618585)

It would be really interesting, as a kind of control group, to ask a statistically represented sample of people how alarmed they are, on the basis of 1-10, about the following: 1) Their name is in the phone book, 2) The government has their Social Security Number, 3) Their face is recognizable by the bank ATM camera, 4) their neighbor has a X% chance of receiving their mail in the wrong mailbox. Throw in the word "breach" and watch the fur fly.

Re:Need a Survey / Cognitive Risk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618695)

I doubt ATMs can recognise my face, I'm 6'8 and all the cash points are at my crotch level.

Re:Need a Survey / Cognitive Risk (4, Funny)

Minwee (522556) | about 2 years ago | (#41618859)

Then you'd be surprised at how many databases your groin has been in.

Re:Need a Survey / Cognitive Risk (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618895)

Certainly not enough, if "database" means what I think it does.

Re:Need a Survey / Cognitive Risk (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618925)

ATM machine: "Please insert your card. Owww, OWWW! No!"

Re:Need a Survey / Cognitive Risk (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#41619003)

Also ask whether they're aware of the risks of DHMO [dhmo.org] .

Is that worse than FB itself having the data? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618621)

Why should I trust any random person off the street any less than I trust the Zuck?

Is there any good reason to enter your number? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618637)

I don't get why people give Facebook their real phone numbers, even if it's supposedly only visible to friends. Any "friends" should already have your number, and if they don't they can ask.

It's crazy how much the world has changed. When I was using the Internet in the 1990, there was a golden rule among pretty much everyone I knew that you do not give real names or personal information to any entity on the Internet for any reason whatsoever.

Wow times have changed! Here [company who specializes in marketing], have all my contact information for free!

Either people are incredibly dense, or they LIKE being spoon-fed ideas and marketing material.

Re:Is there any good reason to enter your number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618743)

Because FB demands a phone number when signing up, and most employers also require someone to have FB access to actually get a face to face interview.

Re:Is there any good reason to enter your number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618777)

most employers also require someone to have FB access to actually get a face to face interview.

[citation needed]

Re:Is there any good reason to enter your number? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619057)

1) Pure lies. FB has never asked for my number of anyone else that I know of.
2) Illegal, or becoming illegal in most sane jurisdictions, so invalid. Also only for crappy jobs.

s/confirms/confirms another/ (1)

overshoot (39700) | about 2 years ago | (#41618651)

Or is that redundant?

Someone's mad (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618667)

Looks like someone's just pissed that Facebook didn't pay out for their "vulnerability" discovery.

I agree - it is certainly not safe to call me. (1)

emmjayell (780191) | about 2 years ago | (#41618737)

I may answer the phone, and in general, talking to me on the phone is usually unpleasant, even bordering on unsafe.

What Do You Mean by "Data Breach" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618739)

The *only* difference between a "data breach" and their normal business model is that Facebook didn't get paid.

Re:What Do You Mean by "Data Breach" (3)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | about 2 years ago | (#41618991)

I suspect this boils down to inadequate controls on data scraping, ie an API that's meant to surface data for an interactive UI can be scripted to enumerate every possible user and they don't have any automated controls on it.

Aren't there editors that review submissions? (2)

Ericular (876826) | about 2 years ago | (#41618757)

"Facebook has confirmed that it limited the Prakash's activity". -- What is "the Prakash"?

"Prakash disagrees with when Facebook says". -- That phrasing doesn't feel right to me either.

Re:Aren't there editors that review submissions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618861)

"Facebook has confirmed that it limited the demonized security breacher's activity". -- What is "the demonized security breacher"?

"The demonized security breacher disagrees with when Facebook says".

There, FTFY.

Re:Aren't there editors that review submissions? (1)

wannabgeek (323414) | about 2 years ago | (#41619149)

Whoosh!

Prakash is a name. It should not be preceded with "the". That (I guess) is the point the GP is trying to make.

Re:Aren't there editors that review submissions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618915)

Thats actually a direct quote from the article, its terrible but not the submitter/editors fault.

This is why (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618785)

I don't have my face in the book. I must be a sociopath serial killer.

misleading (5, Insightful)

tero (39203) | about 2 years ago | (#41618801)

So this is not about breaching phone numbers data that are set to private. This is about finding publicly published phone numbers through the normal search.

Meh. Phonebooks didn't even have privacy policies back in the day.

A more valid complaint might have been the ever changing default settings and user interface "improvements" which make finding the said settings very hard.

But even then, this is not really post-worthy.

It's a feature (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618831)

How else should I get hold of Lady Gaga's private mobile number?

Phone book? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41618865)

Several people on here are bringing up the phone book parallel, but it doesn't really fit. Many of us are not listed in the phone book. For that matter, millions of people are unlisted, but give their mobile number to Facebook in order to receive updates or due to their security questions. These people (unfortunately) think their number is still unlisted and private due to their account settings, unaware how easy it is to get access to that information.

Point is, if put your number in the phone book, you expect it to be public. If you have an unlisted number and think your number is private, then it's going to be an awful shock when you find out your number is splattered across the Internet.

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619301)

Who cares?

Unsafe phone numbers? (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41619587)

the majority of phone numbers on Facebook are not safe

Is this a viral campaign for another awful horror movie? If you call these unsafe numbers you'll die within 24 hours, that kinda thing?

Confirmed: works for private numbers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41619707)

I verified that my mobile number is set to be visible to myself only. I then used a fake facebook account that I keep around, and searched for my phone number. Sure enough, my account showed up. If I try to remove it, I'm informed that I will no longer be able to use that phone to do anything with Facebook. I removed it anyway, and so far, Facebook is still returning my account when I search for my cell number.

Business as usual (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about 2 years ago | (#41619845)

They weren't so much upset about the data breach as they were that Prakash did not pay for it.

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