Feeds

Facebook bug spills name and pic for all 500 million users

Just add email address

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Updated A bug in Facebook's login system allows attackers to match unknown email addresses with users' first and last names, even when they've configured their accounts to make that information private.

The information leak can be exploited by social-engineering scammers, phishers, or anyone who has ever been curious about the person behind an anonymous email message. If the address belongs to any one of the 500 million active users on Facebook, the social-networking site will return the full name and picture associated with the account.

"Facebook users have no control over this, as this works even when you have set all privacy settings properly," Atul Agarwal of Secfence Technologies wrote Wednesday on the Full-disclosure security listserve. "Harvesting this data is very easy, as it can be easily bypassed by using a bunch of proxies."

Exploiting the vulnerability is as easy as entering the email address into the Facebook sign-on page, typing a random password and hitting enter. To streamline the attack, Agarwal has written a PHP script that works with large lists of email addresses.

Over the past few years, Facebook has come under criticism for revealing too much information about its users. The data — which can include users' birthdays, home towns and personal friends — can then be used by marketers, stalkers, and other ne'er-do-wells to invade the users' privacy. The social-networking site has responded by giving users more control over who gets to see select pieces of user information.

Evidently, the name-to–email address extraction bug has been overlooked. We wouldn't be surprised to see this fixed in short order. ®

Update

Indeed, at 8 pm Wednesday California time, about 10 hours after this article was published, the exploit no longer worked.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
JLaw, Kate Upton EXPOSED in celeb nude pics hack
100 women victimised as Apple iCloud accounts reportedly popped
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.