Feeds

MySpace profile hack provides early warning to predators

Unplugged 'system error'

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.