Thursday, July 17, 2008

Facebook privacy breach exposed users' hidden dates of birth

Roll-out of new Facebook profile design marred by security slip-up

Sophos, a world leader in IT security and control, has warned computer users that Facebook accidentally publicly revealed personal information about its members, which could be useful to identity thieves. Earlier this week, 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."

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