Your phone number may not be as private on Facebook as you think – and how to fix it

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

If you use Facebook, your phone number may not be as private as you think.

A way in which Facebook privacy can be abused has come to light that will shock many users, but that the social network itself seems to consider a deliberate feature.

If you enter someone’s phone number into the search box on Facebook, the site can perform a reverse look-up and tell you who the phone number belongs to.

Reverse look-up of a phone number on FacebookYou can see in the screenshot how I entered the mobile phone number of someone I am not Facebook friends with, and instantly was offered their name, photograph and a link to their profile.

When I spoke to the Facebook user in question, she was shocked and surprised that I had been able to find her profile simply by entering her mobile phone number.

She confirmed that her privacy settings were correctly locked down to such an extent that her phone number should only be accessible to her…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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