Earlier this week, several bloggers and journalists, like Barry Ritholtz, Gary Weiss, and Felix Salmon, discovered that Overstock.com (OSTK) CEO Patrick Byrne had created a list of all their Facebook friends.
Henry Blodget, John Carney, and I were all on the list, along with several others.
So how did he get all the names? No, it doesn’t appear to have been hacking.
Just good old social engineering.
Gary Weiss discovered that a Facebook user named “Larry Bergman” had gone around and friended most of the folks on the list.
One of the people who tried to “friend” me on Facebook was the person with the above picture, who gave his name as “Larry Bergman.”
But that’s not his name, and that’s not his picture. (See update. That’s a copyrighted, stolen photo.) His name is Judd Bagley, and he is Byrne’s pretexting specialist.
Bagley created “Bergman” and an unknown number of phony Facebook accounts to con people into “friending” him. That way he could circumvent Facebook security, violating their rules and, well, Lord knows how many laws he broke in this pretexting scheme.
The aim was to get their friends’ lists in order to publish them on Byrne’s “Deep Capture” website. That, in turn, is then used to concoct elaborate conspiracy theories.
Bergman even started friending people’s friends and family and kids.
You should read Weiss’s whole post because it provides pretty compelling evidence that Bergman is Bagley, including the steps he’s staken to cover his tracks.
Anyway, after this post, we’ll be unfriending him.