Vulnerabilities / Threats
9/20/2013
01:36 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Android Facebook App Users: Patch Now

Facebook has fixed a bug in its Android app that left photos vulnerable to interception.

9 Android Apps To Improve Security, Privacy
9 Android Apps To Improve Security, Privacy
(click image for larger view)
Facebook apps for Android users: Ensure you've recently updated your Facebook app.

That warning comes via Egyptian security researcher Mohamed Ramadan, who disclosed Thursday that he'd found an HTTPS bug in Facebook's Android app -- as well as Facebook Messenger -- that have now been patched by the social network's security team. The bug could be exploited by an attacker using Wireshark or another sniffing tool to intercept images being transmitted to Facebook.

According to Ramadan's security report to Facebook, filed in February 2013, "I found that the official Facebook Messenger and Facebook app for Android latest version are sending and receiving images using HTTP protocol and anyone on the same wireless network can sniff my traffic and view all images or even replace it with his own images."

As a result, when using a vulnerable version of one of the apps, "if you are using a wireless network at cafe, hotel, airport, museum, disco, your friend's wireless network or even your own wireless network ... an attacker can run cain and abel, Ettercap, SSLstrip or his own tool to poison the traffic and hijack ARP table and sniff your images and your private images and leak it online or send it to his friends," he said.

[ You may have more pressing concerns. See Apple Hacker: Mobile Malware Threat Overrated. ]

Facebook's use of HTTP for sending people's images appeared to be an inadvertent programming error. For comparison's sake, Ramadan noted, Facebook apps for iOS were sending images using HTTPS, which would have prevented anyone from intercepting them using sniffing tools.

Accordingly, he recommended that all affected Android users update immediately, to protect their privacy. "Don't be lazy," said Ramadan, who runs Attack-Secure, which offers "smarter ethical hacking and penetration testing," including a "ninja skills course."

Ramadan's bug disclosure earned him $1,500 as part of Facebook's bug bounty program. Facebook later sweetened the payout by $500 for Ramadan alerting it to HTTPS problems in Facebook Messenger for Android. "Both were rooted in the same code issues so we essentially treated the Messenger issues as part of the same report rewarded with the bounty," Facebook's security team told him.

That didn't mark Ramadan's first appearance on Facebook's White Hat Security wall of thanks. Last year, for example, he earned $3,000 for informing Facebook of a critical vulnerability in its Facebook Camera app for iPhone. He's also spotted vulnerabilities in BlackBerry apps, as well as on the websites of Adobe, GitHub, Google, Microsoft and others.

Attention on how websites transmit people's personal information or potentially sensitive material -- such as photographs -- has been high since security researcher Eric Butler published his Firesheep tool in 2010. The Firefox plug-in allowed anyone to intercept the login information and other sensitive communications to sites such as Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter, for anyone connected to the same unsecured wireless network. While such data interception had long been possible using sniffing tools, Butler's plug-in drove most Web services to begin using HTTPS, at least for securing sensitive information such as login credentials.

Learn more about mobile security and other threats by attending the Interop conference track on Risk Management and Security in New York from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-4734
Published: 2014-07-21
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in e107_admin/db.php in e107 2.0 alpha2 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the type parameter.

CVE-2014-4960
Published: 2014-07-21
Multiple SQL injection vulnerabilities in models\gallery.php in Youtube Gallery (com_youtubegallery) component 4.x through 4.1.7, and possibly 3.x, for Joomla! allow remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the (1) listid or (2) themeid parameter to index.php.

CVE-2014-5016
Published: 2014-07-21
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in LimeSurvey 2.05+ Build 140618 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via (1) the pid attribute to the getAttribute_json function to application/controllers/admin/participantsaction.php in CPDB, (2) the sa parameter to appl...

CVE-2014-5017
Published: 2014-07-21
SQL injection vulnerability in CPDB in application/controllers/admin/participantsaction.php in LimeSurvey 2.05+ Build 140618 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary SQL commands via the sidx parameter in a JSON request to admin/participants/sa/getParticipants_json, related to a search parameter...

CVE-2014-5018
Published: 2014-07-21
Incomplete blacklist vulnerability in the autoEscape function in common_helper.php in LimeSurvey 2.05+ Build 140618 allows remote attackers to conduct cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks via the GBK charset in the loadname parameter to index.php, related to the survey resume.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Where do information security startups come from? More important, how can I tell a good one from a flash in the pan? Learn how to separate ITSec wheat from chaff in this episode.