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.

Risk

9/1/2009
02:39 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Researcher Launches Facebook Bug Project For September

Several of the most popular applications on the social network contain easy-to-exploit cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws

First Twitter and now Facebook: A researcher today began a round of daily disclosures of serious vulnerabilities in popular Facebook applications.

The researcher, who goes by "theharmonyguy," plans to disclose multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) flaws he discovered in various third-party Facebook applications this month, though he may not do so every day. He says he found major security holes in several of Facebook's top 10 most popular applications.

Today's bugs include XSSes in FunSpace, which has more than 8 million users; SuperPoke, which has 2 million users; SocialToo, which has nearly 2,000 users; and YellowPages.ca, which has nearly 1,200 users. FunSpace, SuperPoke, and SocialToo have been patched, but YellowPages.ca has not.

Theharmonyguy says Facebook's own applications tend to be secure, as does its site. He says he has studied several Facebook-written apps for the site, and it was tough to find any holes. "They seem to know what they're doing with security," he says. "I found a cross-site scripting hole on the Facebook page and contacted them, and they patched if really quickly," he says.

Even so, the researcher says Facebook doesn't vet third-party apps. "In fact, four of the five apps I'm going to post in the next week or so are Facebook-verified ones," he says.

Theharmonyguy plans to release source code for the attacks once he has completed the disclosures. He says he gives each application developer 24 hours notice before posting the flaws.

The problem, he says, lays in Facebook's API -- problem that has been well-documented by other researchers, as well. The API gives the application developer full access to a Facebook member's profile when a user runs that application.

"A lot of the security problems I and others are finding [on social networks] seem to come in through third-party apps," theharmonyguy says. "Once you start allowing this third-party content, you start opening yourself up to problems."

Theharmonyguy says XSS is simple to exploit in a Facebook application by inserting iFrames or scripts. And the XSS hole can then open the door to cross-site request forgery (CSRF) attacks, as well, he says.

There's no surefire way for Facebook users to protect themselves from these application-borne attacks, he says. "My No. 1 tip to users would be not to put anything on their profile that they don't want to be public. Treat your Facebook profile as if it's already public," he says. "And be careful what applications you install," even though Facebook-verified ones can also be abused, he says.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Data Privacy Protections for the Most Vulnerable -- Children
Dimitri Sirota, Founder & CEO of BigID,  10/17/2019
Sodinokibi Ransomware: Where Attackers' Money Goes
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  10/15/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
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
2019 Online Malware and Threats
2019 Online Malware and Threats
As cyberattacks become more frequent and more sophisticated, enterprise security teams are under unprecedented pressure to respond. Is your organization ready?
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-18214
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
The Video_Converter app 0.1.0 for Nextcloud allows denial of service (CPU and memory consumption) via multiple concurrent conversions because many FFmpeg processes may be running at once. (The workload is not queued for serial execution.)
CVE-2019-18202
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
Information Disclosure is possible on WAGO Series PFC100 and PFC200 devices before FW12 due to improper access control. A remote attacker can check for the existence of paths and file names via crafted HTTP requests.
CVE-2019-18209
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-19
templates/pad.html in Etherpad-Lite 1.7.5 has XSS when the browser does not encode the path of the URL, as demonstrated by Internet Explorer.
CVE-2019-18198
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In the Linux kernel before 5.3.4, a reference count usage error in the fib6_rule_suppress() function in the fib6 suppression feature of net/ipv6/fib6_rules.c, when handling the FIB_LOOKUP_NOREF flag, can be exploited by a local attacker to corrupt memory, aka CID-ca7a03c41753.
CVE-2019-18197
PUBLISHED: 2019-10-18
In xsltCopyText in transform.c in libxslt 1.1.33, a pointer variable isn't reset under certain circumstances. If the relevant memory area happened to be freed and reused in a certain way, a bounds check could fail and memory outside a buffer could be written to, or uninitialized data could be disclo...