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.

Perimeter

Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
10/14/2010
08:45 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
Security Insights
50%
50%

Facebook, Why Don't You Learn A Security Lesson From Apple?

It seems like every day thousands of Facebook users fall into the trap of permitting malicious third-party apps to compromise their accounts.

It seems like every day thousands of Facebook users fall into the trap of permitting malicious third-party apps to compromise their accounts.As alluring messages whirl around the site, spreading virally, more and more users are tempted into approving applications -- even though they have no clue about what they intend to do, or even who wrote them.

Dislike button scam on Facebook

So many Facebookers have fallen into the trap of permitting unknown apps to peruse their profiles, scoop up details of their friends, and even email them directly -- all for the promise of some salacious content, an "amusing" video, or new functionality like the mythical "dislike" button.

Do you really want to give the rogue application permission to access your Facebook profile?

Facebook says it requires developers to verify their accounts by confirming their mobile phone numbers or credit card details; after that you're free to write whatever applications you like.

Of course, it's not very hard for cybercriminals to get their hands on a credit card or a pay-as-you-go mobile phone number. And so there's hardly anything stopping scammers writing rogue apps that point to revenue-generating surveys, steal personal information, direct users' Web browsers to malicious sites, or spam from your account.

Create application

So it's up to the user to try to make sensible decisions about what third-party apps they install on Facebook. Unfortunately, they've proved themselves very poor at making such judgments.

But is there a better way? What if Facebook followed the example of Apple, which successfully built a "walled garden" around their iPhone, meaning only approved apps could be installed on its smartphones.

Although the strict rules on the iPhone have plenty of critics, it can't be argued with from the security point of view. After all, when did you last hear of a malicious app on a non-jailbroken iPhone?

Is it time that Facebook put in place a compulsory verification system for apps? Let me know your thoughts in this quick poll:

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
Comments
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
Video
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
CVE-2017-18568
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
The my-wp-translate plugin before 1.0.4 for WordPress has XSS.
CVE-2017-18569
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
The my-wp-translate plugin before 1.0.4 for WordPress has CSRF.
CVE-2019-15238
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
The cforms2 plugin before 15.0.2 for WordPress has CSRF related to the IP address field.
CVE-2011-5328
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
The user-access-manager plugin before 1.2 for WordPress has CSRF.
CVE-2014-10381
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
The user-domain-whitelist plugin before 1.5 for WordPress has CSRF.