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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

8/11/2010
01:38 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Facebook Privacy Flaw Identified

Despite its struggle to simplify its privacy controls, Facebook still has some work to do.

Facebook's privacy controls offer less privacy than one might expect.

In an e-mail message posted to the Full Disclosure mailing list, Atul Agarwal, a security researcher and CEO of Secfence Technologies, describes how Facebook can be prompted to reveal user names and profile pictures even when user privacy settings have been set to conceal this information.

Agarwal says he discovered the issue when he accidentally entered an incorrect password while trying to log into Facebook.

The site proved to be too helpful, returning a user name and profile picture along with the supplied e-mail address, even though the password was incorrect.

As a result, a malicious user can learn the Facebook user names associated with valid e-mail addresses.

"Facebook users have no control over this, as this works even when you have set all privacy settings properly," wrote Agarwal. "Harvesting this data is very easy, as it can be easily bypassed by using a bunch of proxies."

Agarwal created a proof of concept script to demonstrate how this flaw -- presenting user information before applying privacy settings -- can be used for data harvesting.

Elaborating on Agarwal's find, another mailing list contributor, Javier Bassi, observed that Facebook's helpfulness goes even further: It will suggest a valid user name, profile picture, and e-mail addresses when supplied an e-mail address that's incorrect but similar to a valid one.

While such automated corrections may be helpful, they can also be misused.

Beyond the privacy failure, the ability to associate real names with e-mail addresses can make phishing attacks more effective. And the ability to generate valid e-mail addresses from random guesses can be used to build spam lists or conduct reconnaissance about users with e-mail accounts from a particular company or domain.

A Facebook spokesperson said the company is investigating the issue.

Update: After this story was filed, a Facebook spokesperson responded with the following statement:

"We have technical systems in place to prevent people’s names and photos from showing to unrelated users upon login, but a recently introduced bug temporarily prevented these from working as intended. We are already working on a fix and expect to remedy the situation shortly. Please note that our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (http://www.facebook.com/terms.php) dictates who and how public information can be accessed, and we prohibit people from scraping our site."

 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 7/9/2020
Introducing 'Secure Access Service Edge'
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  7/3/2020
Russian Cyber Gang 'Cosmic Lynx' Focuses on Email Fraud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  7/7/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal, a Dark Reading Perspective
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
The Threat from the Internetand What Your Organization Can Do About It
This report describes some of the latest attacks and threats emanating from the Internet, as well as advice and tips on how your organization can mitigate those threats before they affect your business. Download it today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15001
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
An information leak was discovered on Yubico YubiKey 5 NFC devices 5.0.0 to 5.2.6 and 5.3.0 to 5.3.1. The OTP application allows a user to set optional access codes on OTP slots. This access code is intended to prevent unauthorized changes to OTP configurations. The access code is not checked when u...
CVE-2020-15092
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
In TimelineJS before version 3.7.0, some user data renders as HTML. An attacker could implement an XSS exploit with maliciously crafted content in a number of data fields. This risk is present whether the source data for the timeline is stored on Google Sheets or in a JSON configuration file. Most T...
CVE-2020-15093
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
The tough library (Rust/crates.io) prior to version 0.7.1 does not properly verify the threshold of cryptographic signatures. It allows an attacker to duplicate a valid signature in order to circumvent TUF requiring a minimum threshold of unique signatures before the metadata is considered valid. A ...
CVE-2020-15299
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
A reflected Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) Vulnerability in the KingComposer plugin through 2.9.4 for WordPress allows remote attackers to trick a victim into submitting an install_online_preset AJAX request containing base64-encoded JavaScript (in the kc-online-preset-data POST parameter) that is execu...
CVE-2020-4173
PUBLISHED: 2020-07-09
IBM Guardium Activity Insights 10.6 and 11.0 does not set the secure attribute on authorization tokens or session cookies. Attackers may be able to get the cookie values by sending a http:// link to a user or by planting this link in a site the user goes to. The cookie will be sent to the insecure l...