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Security researchers have set up a site designed to prod social networking websites into practising what they preach about web security.

Socialnetworksecurity.org, which aims to publish details of security vulnerabilities on Web 2.0 sites such as Xing or Facebook, was set up last weekend by security researchers frustrated with a lack of response from sites about the problems they discovered, as the site manifesto explains:

In the past the authors of this website have found lots of security related issues on well known social networking plattform and tried to contact the responsible owners to provide detailed informations on the found issues.

During this we got really frustrated because often there is no security-email available on the social networking plattform which means that we had to try to contact the website providers via their "normal" helpdesk or ticketing system. This had the consequense that in most case we got no answer or it took weeks till we got any answers.

Many of the vulnerabilities unearthed fall into the category of cross-site scripting vulnerabilities, some of which (in the case of bugs on Xing and Jappy.de, for example) have already been fixed.

Separately, an insecure script on Facebook creates a mechanism to make more convincing phishing attacks. This bug remains live, Socialnetworksecurity.org warns.

The German-based team behind the website, who wish to remain anonymous, want to push vendors into becoming more responsible about security bugs. At a first step they want Web 2.0 to establish a security-related contact form, and to allow submission of confidential security-related problems via encrypted email.

The team also want to warn users about possible problems on the sites they frequent. Socialnetworksecurity.org encourages users to submit information on security problems they have encountered. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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