Feeds

MySpace profile hack provides early warning to predators

Unplugged 'system error'

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

A security issue on MySpace may put a spanner in the works of law-enforcement efforts to track miscreants using the social networking site.

Many MySpace profiles contain code that subscribes visitors to a profile's video channel. Normally this is all well and good, but hackers are able to subvert the feature for filthy purposes, according to Chris Boyd, security research manager at FaceTime Communications.

Hackers have set up dozens of accounts used as a springboard for spamming or attempts to vandalise other profiles.

The feature (used in conjunction with an IP address tracker) might also be employed by predators to keep tabs on anyone who might be tracking their activities, Boyd says. Although MySpace has made attempts to prohibit the use of IP trackers, miscreants have found a way around these blocks.

Crackers "are using every trick in the book they can to know who is watching them," Boyd said.

In particular, the feature could be used by predators to detect if their attempts to groom youngsters have come to the attention of law enforcement, potentially curtailing or frustrating evidence in child abuse investigations.

The tactic has been in play since at least October 2007. MySpace was informed of the issue in late March but is yet to act. According to Boyd, the social networking site has responded to his concerns about the issue by describing it as a "system error".

Pending a fix from MySpace itself, Boyd has posted advice to surfers about how to avoid tracking here, a tip child abuse investigators might well find useful. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
NOT OK GOOGLE: Android images can conceal code
It's been fixed, but hordes won't have applied the upgrade
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.