Hacker Ron Bowes used a scraper to grab the name and profile URL of 171 million FaceBook users. You might think he would sell this information. But he did not. Instead he blogged about it on the Scull Security blog. He also uploaded the data in text files as a 2.8 gigabyte torrent to the Pirate Bay.
Bowes used a script that interrogated the Facebook public profile directory. All of this is publicly available data. Search engines like Google have access to this information already. You can tell whether your data is publicly available on FaceBook by seeing whether "search for me on FaceBook" is set to everyone in your settings. You can also see whether "enable public search" is checked in your settings.
I am going to download this large torrent and see what this data is all about. Probably will just get usernames and URLs. Then perhaps I can write a small program that scrapes the profiles and builds up my own database. Not sure if I have enough bandwidth, disk space, and processing power to do that. We shall see.
Work Smarter not Harder - We have large data sets in my current project. Every year tons more data is loaded into the system. So we only keep the majority of data for 4 years. After...