Feeds

One million Facebook users' names and email addresses: $5

An effective way to fight social network fraud: Priceless

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Name and email addresses of Facebook users are available online at prices as low as $5 per million.

The dodgy trade was uncovered by Bogomil Shopov, an internet marketeer and blogger in the Czech Republic. Shopov said he approached the social network about the problem. He said Facebook asked him to forward and then delete the data, which came in the form on a compressed spreadsheet. Facebook representatives also wanted to know where he'd bought the data and what payment systems were used, he said, adding that he had been happy to answer.

However, the Czech blogger said he objected to requests he says were made by the Facebook representatives to keep his conversations with with them about the matter a secret. He said Facebook told him it was running an internal legal investigation but dragged its feet when it came to promising to advise users about how to avoid their data ending up in the hands of unscrupulous data brokers. "I asked if it was possible to tell what the problem was, after they finished the investigation, so that the users could protect themselves, but they they emphasised that it would be an internal investigation and they would not share any information with third parties," Shopov wrote in an updated blog post.

Shopov suspects the Facebook data, which contained Facebook profile URLs as well as email addresses and names on users of the social network, came from a third-party developer. Shopov said ads advertising the sale of the data were pulled soon after he tipped Facebook off about the issue. The Czech blogger was able to verify that at least some of the email addresses contained in the list were accurate.

Although internet services marketing site gigbucks.com has removed the offending ad, it can still be viewed via Google cache here, Ars Technica reports.

Shopov told El Reg that other sites are offering Facebook data for sale. "I know two so far and it seems the part of the data is (was) available in a post in Facebook," he said.

In a statement, Facebook said early indications were that the data was scraped from its site before being bundled with other information and sold online, probably illegally.

Facebook is vigilant about protecting our users from those who would try to expose any form of user information. In this case, it appears someone has attempted to scrape information from our site and combine the information with data publicly available elsewhere on the web.

We have dedicated security engineers and teams that look into, and take aggressive action on reports just like these. In addition to the engineering teams that build tools to block scraping we also have a dedicated enforcement team that seeks to identify those responsible for breaking our terms and works with our legal team to ensure appropriate consequences follow.

We continue to investigate this specific individual.

Shopov told El Reg that he didn't believe the data was scraped from Facebook. Whoever is behind the scam can expect to face sanctions from Facebook, up to and including the possibility of criminal prosecution.

Thriving trade in black market likes

In other Facebook-related security news, Imperva warned that it had uncovered a bustling trade in social network fraud on an online black market it monitors. The 250,000-member hacker forum plays host to a thriving black market for buying and selling illegitimate social network "Likes", followers, and endorsements, with particular attention given to the origin of these Likes and followers.

"Likes and followers can be used to gain rank, win competitions, and many other causes that can often be translated to monetary profit," Imperva explains. "Many forum discussions contain requests to buy Facebook friends and Likes, Twitter followers and other types of social currency. There are, of course, many who are willing to provide the service, for variable prices."

A thousand Facebook Likes can be easily purchased for $10 or less, with discounts for bulk purchases.

Imperva's report on the hacker forum, published on Tuesday, can be found here (PDF). ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SMASH the Bash bug! Apple and Red Hat scramble for patch batches
'Applying multiple security updates is extremely difficult'
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
SHELLSHOCKED: Fortune 1000 outfits Bash out batches of patches
CloudPassage points to 'pervasive' threat of Bash bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.