Feeds

Facebook, MySpace backdoor exposed user accounts

Bit drafty in here

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Facebook and MySpace have closed gaping security holes in their sites that gave attackers full access to accounts that had automatic-login features enabled.

The vulnerabilities, documented here by a Facebook application developer, were significant. Because the unauthorized access would be mapped to the victim's IP address and website cookie, the intrusions would be virtually untraceable. Attackers were then free to download photos and messages designated as private with no indication at all to the victim.

Facebook and MySpace closed the backdoors shortly after being notified, a marked improvement from the past, when the sites sometimes allowed serious security holes to persist for months. Still, it probably shouldn't have taken an outsider to discover the bug. This is the latest episode to demonstrate that the only sure way to ensure that data is private is to keep it off social networking sites altogether.

The backdoors were the result of a misconfiguration of a crossdomain.xml, a file websites use to share content using Adobe Flash across domains. Some of the domains that were accessible exposed authentication tokens for accounts that had the auto-login feature turned on.

Facebook developers had blocked access from the main domain, but didn't bother to notice the sensitive data was accessible when Facebook subdomains were used. MySpace similarly locked its front door but left a window at farm.sproutbuilder.com, which had full access to the data.

The holes could be exploited by luring victims to sites that had a Flash application installed designed to grab the authentication information, the developer said. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.