Recently, a security researcher found a way collect the phone numbers of unsuspecting Facebook users. By default, your Facebook privacy settings allow everyone to find you with their friend finder using the contact info you have provided to Facebook. This functionality was exploited by the researcher with a simple automated script (or bot) he wrote, allowing him to collect as many valid phone numbers as he wanted.
Now that this exploit is public, you can be assured that scammers will be using this method to collect as much user information as possible, which could lead to increased spam or provide more firepower for social engineering attacks. Here’s how you can protect yourself adjusting Facebook’s privacy settings.
Change who can find you using your phone number
Changing this setting will tell Facebook that only your Friends should be able to find you using your email address or phone number, while preventing strangers and scammers from finding you using the friend finder exploit.
- Login to your Facebook account and click on arrow in the upper-right corner of the page (to the right of your name).
- Select Privacy Settings from the dropdown menu.
- In the “How You Connect” section, click Edit Settings.
- In the popup dialog box, change the “Who can look you up using the email address or phone number you provided?” setting to Friends.
Change who can see your phone number
Changing this setting will limit who can view your contact info when visiting your Profile page.
- Login to your Facebook account and click on your name in the upper-right corner of the page. This will bring you to your Timeline.
- Click the Update Info button found below your cover photo.
- Scroll down to the “Contact Info” section and click Edit.
- For each of your email addresses and phone numbers, click the down arrow next to them and select Only Me from the list.
If you’d rather remove your phone number from Facebook altogether, you can do so from this same page.
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