Feeds

Facebook bug allowed users to eavesdrop on chats

When private conversations aren't

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Facebook engineers on Wednesday disabled the site's live chat function after people outside the company discovered a bug that allowed users to eavesdrop on their friends' conversations.

The site - whose founder insists "people have really gotten comfortable sharing more information" with world+dog - also had to take emergency action to correct a separate hole that allowed users to see their friends' pending friend requests.

Ironically, the gaffes were the result of a new "preview my profile" service Facebook added late last month in an effort to give users more control over their privacy settings. Facebook said they had persisted for "a limited period of time," but wasn't any more specific.

In a statement issued a few hours after the bug was reported by TechCrunch, Facebook said it temporarily suspended the chat function while it patched the information leak. With that work completed, it said it expected to turn chat back on "shortly."

Over the past month, Facebook has been under siege by a variety of critics who say the site is imperiling the privacy of its 400 million or so users. Even Chris Kelly, Facebook's former privacy chief, has jumped on the bandwagon. Last month, while stumping to be California's next attorney general, he took pains to distance himself from the most recent policy shift, which automatically shares user data with partners.

"I strongly encourage Facebook to structure all its programs to allow Facebook users to give permission before their information is shared with third parties," he wrote.

The video below demonstrates the Facebook chat eavesdrop bug before it got squished.

®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Regin: The super-spyware the security industry has been silent about
NSA fingered as likely source of complex malware family
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
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?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.