Vulnerability in Facebook could have exposed personal user data

15 November, 2018, 21:01 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • Another Facebook vulnerability risked personal user information

Instead, Imperva security researcher Masas says in the announcement, "Having reported the vulnerability to Facebook under their responsible disclosure program in May 2018, we worked with the Facebook Security Team to mitigate regressions and ensure that the issue was thoroughly resolved".

"A unique feature of the uncovered bug is the exploitation of the Iframe element within Facebook's search feature", Masas told SiliconANGLE Tuesday. Masas found that Facebook search results were not sufficiently protected from cross-site request forgery attacks, meaning bad actors could have used an iFrame to extract data from a logged-in Facebook profile in another tab.

Ankush Johar, Director at Infosec Ventures explained, "Although CSRF flaws have a big prerequisite to work that the user must be logged in to the website while he/she visits the infected page, what makes the Facebook vulnerability risky is, unlike other websites, most of the users are always logged into Facebook in their browsers thus putting everyone at massive risks". For example, the exploit could see if a user liked a certain page.

Attackers could have run queries with certain graph searches, such as to find out whether you liked a page, if you took photos at a certain location or if you or your friends used specific keywords in your posts.

Masas warned that though a CSRF attack is not a common technique, it could rise in popularity next year.

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While testing out the attack, Masas was able to determine specific data on users and their friends regardless of one's privacy settings. If the user interacts with this page in any possible manner such as scrolling or clicking, the page will automatically execute malicious JavaScript code that will automate the search queries in a new tab.

Masas added that the vulnerability was especially unsafe for mobile phone users, who may not even notice a new browser tab opening when the attack takes place.

These search queries, even if they didn't expose fine-grained details, they did expose second-hand information that could reveal, when pieced together, the identity of a user and his friends circle.

Imperva, a cybersecurity company, discovered the flaw and disclosed it to Facebook in May. "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".

News of the bug comes amid increased scrutiny for Facebook following a string of data privacy scandals.



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