Facebook bug allowed other sites to view users' likes and interests

Facebook used less for news as youngsters turn to WhatsApp Report

Cybersecurity company Imperva recently revealed details on a Facebook vulnerability that would have allowed malicious websites to obtain users' personal information. The hack could allow attackers to know information such as the names of the user's friends, liked pages, interests, and know particular posts by using certain keywords. "As the underlying behavior is not specific to Facebook, we've made recommendations to browser makers and relevant web standards groups to encourage them to take steps to prevent this type of issue from occurring in other web applications.", a Facebook Spokesperson says. Get out while you still can.

Since the tab under technique is regularly used nowadays for pushing intrusive online ads, most users wouldn't even pay attention to the new tab being opened in their browser's background, considering just another ad. From there, attackers could open a new pop-up or tab to the Facebook search page and run any number of queries to extract personal information.

In this scenario, it was found out that the attack could siphon data from Facebook with you logged in on another browser tab.

Researcher Ron Masas describes this vulnerability as cross-site request forgery (CSRF) which allows any malicious website to remotely collect information from a user's profile on Facebook.

But Facebook told TechCrunch that it hasn't seen any abuse of the vulnerability.

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From there, an attacker could basically infer a target and their Facebook friends' private data, such as finding posts with certain text or seeing if they have photos taken at a specific location. This vulnerability was disclosed to Facebook in May which was then patched.

The company awarded Imperva $8,000 in two separate bug bounty rewards. By manipulating Facebook's graph search, it was possible to craft search queries that reflected personal information about the user. Facebook declined to comment on who was behind the hack, saying it was still under FBI investigation, but The Wall Street Journal reported that it was likely spammers posing as a digital marketing company.

"We appreciate this researcher's report to our bug bounty program".

"Like the data exposed in the Cambridge Analytica breach, this data is attractive to attackers looking to develop sophisticated social engineering attacks or sell this data to an advertising company", Masas explained.

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