After a list of Facebook accounts with public details was published by a security consultant, experts are warning that any non-private information you put on the Internet is actually on the Internet.
Security consultant Ron Bowes used a piece of code to scan Facebook profiles, collecting data not hidden by the user’s privacy settings in same way you or I could have done, using only our eyes.
Facebook user Sharon Bott was outraged, telling reporters, “So you’re saying that when I put holiday pictures on Facebook, and set it so that anyone can see them, then anyone can see them? That’s outrageous!
“Who knew the Internet could be such a horrendous den of filth, depravity and freely-available soul-crushingly dull Facebook status updates.”
Facebook has issued a statement insisting that no security breach has taken place, claiming that “the only information he was able to access is the information you made readily available to him. It’s totally your fault, not ours”.
“If you put something on the Internet and don’t mark it as private, it is, by its very definition, public. Get it now?”
The harvesting of publicly available personal information is not a new phenomenon, with many hackers claiming to have been doing it for years.
Welsh hacker Dewey Thomas said that it was not just Facebook that was allowing unscrupulous people access to limited amounts of publicly available and relatively harmless personal information.
“Only this morning I got the names, addresses, and phone numbers of thousands of Cardiff residents, simply by opening a phone book. People just don’t think about their security like they should.”