Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.


Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
09:08 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
Security Insights

Facebook Users Revolt Over Privacy Changes

If there's one thing likely to stir Facebook users into action, it's news that their privacy might be being further eroded by the social network.

If there's one thing likely to stir Facebook users into action, it's news that their privacy might be being further eroded by the social network.As I wrote at the end of last month on my blog at Sophos.com, Facebook is planning changes to its privacy policy that would give a green light to third-party sites accessing users' personal information.

These changes mean if you're logged into Facebook and then visit a third party Website, that site will be able to access the following:

  • your name
  • your profile picture
  • your gender
  • your friends and connections
  • your userid
  • any content shared using the "Everyone" privacy setting


In a nutshell, you might visit a Website and discover it already knows who you are, your date of birth, where you live, and who your friends are -- all without you ever having given the site explicit permission to access that data.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook users who are aware of the planned change to their privacy are up in arms, as the following poll conducted on the Sophos Website reveals:

Facebook privacy poll

Even though Facebook says only a small number of preapproved sites will be offered this feature, and that users would be able to "opt-out," an overwhelming 95% of the 680 people polled believe the changes to be a "bad thing."

And it's not just people polled by Sophos who are unimpressed; German Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner is reported to have sent an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg complaining about the slackening of privacy and threatened to quit the site in protest.

Once again, it feels like online privacy is being eroded by stealth. Too many Websites are chipping away at their members' privacy and security, potentially exposing their personal data to third parties that were never in the equation when they first signed up for the service.

In my opinion, an "opt-out" option simply isn't good enough -- users should have to consciously opt-in to having their data shared with others

Think carefully about the personal information you are posting information on social networks -- you can't be sure who they might be sharing it with tomorrow.

More details about the Facebook privacy poll can be found on my blog on the Sophos website.

Graham Cluley is senior technology consultant at Sophos, and has been working in the computer security field since the early 1990s. When he's not updating his award-winning other blog on the Sophos website, you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley. Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Microsoft Patches Wormable RCE Vulns in Remote Desktop Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/13/2019
The Mainframe Is Seeing a Resurgence. Is Security Keeping Pace?
Ray Overby, Co-Founder & President at Key Resources, Inc.,  8/15/2019
GitHub Named in Capital One Breach Lawsuit
Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
Roundcube Webmail through 1.3.9 mishandles Punycode xn-- domain names, leading to homograph attacks.
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
FUEL CMS 1.4.4 has XSS in the Create Blocks section of the Admin console. This could lead to cookie stealing and other malicious actions. This vulnerability can be exploited with an authenticated account but can also impact unauthenticated visitors.
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
FUEL CMS 1.4.4 has CSRF in the blocks/create/ Create Blocks section of the Admin console. This could lead to an attacker tricking the administrator into executing arbitrary code via a specially crafted HTML page.
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
Webmin 1.890, in a default installation, contains a backdoor that allows an unauthenticated attacker to remotely execute commands. This is different from CVE-2019-15107. NOTE: as of 2019-08-19, the vendor reports that "at some point" malicious code was inserted into their build infrastruct...
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
Live555 before 2019.08.16 has a Use-After-Free because GenericMediaServer::createNewClientSessionWithId can generate the same client session ID in succession, which is mishandled by the MPEG1or2 and Matroska file demultiplexors.