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Facebook ID theft Mr Big just a sprat, says social network

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Facebook has reportedly identified a hacker who recently offered to sell 1.5 million profiles in underground hacking forums, although he actually had only a fraction of these to flog.

The black marketeer, Kirllos, is guilty of exaggerating his haul but had succeeded in breaking into numerous accounts, according to investigators hired by the social networking site, IDG reports.

Kirllos's activities in selling batches of 1,000 accounts for between $25 and $45 a tranche, depending on the number of connections, were first detected by security researchers at VeriSign iDefense.

Although Facebook has identified the scamp, beyond saying he lives in Russia, it isn't planning on naming him.

"We have determined Kirllos' identity through IP addresses, online accounts, and other information and believe that he's very likely a low-level actor," a Facebook spokesman told IDG.

Facebook reckons Kirllos obtained and sold only a few thousand purloined profiles, probably using phishing or similar tactics. The social network has reset the password of accounts it has identified as compromised. Given Kirllo's location, a prosecution seems highly unlikely.

In other Facebook-related news, Facebook introduced new security features this week that means users are notified by email or text when their account is first accessed from a computer or mobile device.

Facebook will also detect anomalies such as concurrent log-ins from different countries, challenging users with further security questions when this happens. It will also log the geographical location of log-ins in an approach similar to technology introduced by Gmail earlier this year, AP reports. ®

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