Feeds

Facebook ignores huge security hole for four months

And counting

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Facebook has been sitting on a nasty website flaw that for four months has made its users susceptible to malware and forgery attacks.

The cross-site scripting (XSS) error can be plainly demonstrated here and here. It allows a miscreant to trick a user into believing he is visiting Facebook when the vast majority of the content is being supplied by a website of the attacker's choice.

XSS vulnerabilities are by far the most prevalent type of website vulnerability, according to a new report (PDF) issued Tuesday by White Hat Security, a firm that specializes in website security. They allow attackers to inject code and graphics into familiar websites, creating opportunities to install malware and phish account details even as a browser's address bar bears the name of Google.com, Facebook.com or some other website the user trusts.

In many cases, XSS flaws are self-replicating, as was the case with the so-called Samy worm, which knocked MySpace out of commission after it added more than a million users to the creator's friends page. The JS-Yamanner exploit that hit Yahoo mail in 2006 and last year's quick-moving attack targeting Google Orkut are two other examples of web worms gone wild.

Given how virulent these pests can be, you'd think Facebook would show a little more alacrity in squashing them. But that isn't the case here. According to the Reg reader who alerted us, he first told Facebook personnel about the vulnerability in August.

"I tried to alert Facebook as quickly as was possible - however I received no further correspondence to my communications," he wrote in an email. "It should be worth noting, that according to Bugtraq I'm not the first one to be perplexed with contacting Facebook regarding a security problem!"

Over the past week, an ugly worm dubbed Koobface has menaced plenty of Facebook users with spam and malware attacks without the benefit of a gaping hole. We shudder to think what might happen if miscreants combined such an exploit with a vulnerability like this.

The Facebook hole works with Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera, Safari and installations of Firefox that don't use the NoScript plugin (you do use it, yes?). El Reg has asked Facebook representatives for comment and will be sure to update if we get it. ®

Update

Within three hours of the posting of this story, the XSS holes were closed. Representatives from Facebook have yet to respond.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
Why did it take antivirus giants YEARS to drill into super-scary Regin? Symantec responds...
FYI this isn't just going to target Windows, Linux and OS X fans
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
Home Office: Fancy flogging us some SECRET SPY GEAR?
If you do, tell NOBODY what it's for or how it works
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

10 ways wire data helps conquer IT complexity
IT teams can automatically detect problems across the IT environment, spot data theft, select unique pieces of transaction payloads to send to a data source, and more.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.