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£15bn for Government snoop network? Just use Facebook

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Stuart Turton
pcpro
Sunday, April 5, 2009

Cambridge University researchers have revealed how the profile information Facebook releases to search engines could be exploited by spammers or even governments.

Public listings allow search engines to crawl a limited version of your Facebook profile, displaying your name, photo, and eight people you’re friends with. A limited selection of fan listings and affiliations are also displayed.

In a paper entitled Eight Friends Are Enough the team from Cambridge’s Computer Security Group, reveal how they developed a programme capable of sifting through thousands of these public profiles.

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This information was then used to map out a person’s network of friends. The paper’s authors claim this is valuable information that could be easily exploited by spammers and governments.

“In our own experiments, we were able to download over 250,000 public listings per day using a desktop PC and a fairly crude Python script,” says Joseph Bonneau on the Light Blue Touchpaper blog. “For a serious data aggregator getting every user’s listing is no sweat.”

Full article here

This article was posted: Sunday, April 5, 2009 at 3:07 am





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