Researchers Claim Flaws In Facebook; Facebook Calls Them 'Best Practices'

Short passwords, non-SSL-encrypted forms are criticized by Cenzic



Researchers at security vendor Cenzic's labs say they have discovered vulnerabilities in Facebook's logins and passwords, but the social networking site says the issues are not security flaws.

"We disclosed our findings to Facebook in hopes that they would want to fix the problems," says Mandeep Khera, head of marketing at Cenzic. "In several cases, they rejected the idea that these are vulnerabilities -- they called them 'best practices' that make [the site] easier to use."

Among the "flaws" that Cenzic found were applications that can link to Facebook using a six-character password that is not case-sensitive, Khera says. "A six-character password could be broken in a matter of minutes," he says. "But Facebook calls this a best practice because it makes it easier for the user."

Similarly, Cenzic found that some data on Facebook is sent in the clear, Khera says. "You use SSL to get into the forms, but when you fill out the form and send it back, that data does not go over SSL," he says. Facebook rejected this "vulnerability" also, according to Khera.

Cenzic found other issues related to authentication and handling of passwords on Facebook, but the social networking site does not plan to do anything about them, Khera says.

To help social networking sites identify this type of flaw, Cenzic’s new LikeSec program is offering all social networking sites and their application developers a free "HealthCheck," which includes a vulnerability assessment using Cenzic’s Cloud offering.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Comment" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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