When will they learn?

Facebook accidentally publicly revealed personal information about its members, which could be useful to identity thieves. Earlier this month, the full dates of birth of many of Facebook’s 80 million active users were visible to others, even if the individual member had requested that the information remained confidential.

According to Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, a security slip-up by the website during the process of a public beta test of its new design for members’ profiles left birth date information exposed. 

"I was shocked to see people’s full date of birth revealed, even though I knew they had their privacy set up correctly to supposedly hide the information," said Cluley. "It’s essential that users of social networks should have confidence that their privacy will be protected – and it’s especially important with information like your date of birth, which can be a golden nugget for a committed identity thief."

Cluley says he informed Facebook as soon as he discovered the flaw, which now appears to have been fixed. 

"It’s good that Facebook fixed the problem – but can people feel confident that this kind of mistake won’t happen again in future?" he asked. "My advice to Facebook users would be, even if your date of birth is set to be non-visible, change it to a made-up date in case this kind of blunder happens again. Facebook and other social networking websites need to be more careful about protecting their members’ data, or risk losing users."


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0 Responses to When will they learn?

  1. Derek Lidbom says:

    At least facebook lets you change your birthday though. 😀

  2. Mark says:

    One of the myriad of reasons I changed all my info and deactivated my account.

  3. Scott says:

    But then you wouldn’t get all of the nice birthday greetings! Maybe I’ll just change the year. I think this will bother some people, but so many people live on Facebook, that security snafus here and there are going to continue to be forgiven and forgotten by the vast majority of users because people love the product. They’ll have to screw up something that yields big consequences before there’s outcry.

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