Feeds

Aussie cops grab journo for reporting Facebook vuln demo

Eat lead, messenger

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

A tech writer attending the AusCERT conference in Queensland says he has been arrested and released by Queensland Police over a story written at the conference.

Ben Grubb, a journalist for the Fairfax stable of newspapers, flicked off a short Tweet after his arrest: "I've been arrested by Queensland Police for a story I wrote today. They've also seized my iPad." Later, other attendees of the conference said Grubb had been released and had returned to the conference.

His questioning apparently relates to this story, in which he detailed a demonstration by independent security researcher Christian Heinrich of Facebook vulnerabilities. Heinrich accessed privacy-protected photographs of the wife of HackLabs director Chris Gatford.

Grubb, writing for the Sydney Morning Herald, said Heinrich’s presentation claimed his attack worked not directly through Facebook, but through the content delivery network (CDN) Facebook uses for improved performance.

The vulnerability comes through the time-honoured practice of URL guessing, often mislabelled as a "hack". In Heinrich's case, the challenge was to guess the URL that the CDN attaches to privacy-protected photos.

To do this, he combined a Facebook friend ID with a brute-force-guess for the remainder of the URL to the photographs, in a process which Heinrich said meant testing 200,000 numerals and took around seven days.

The mystery is why Grubb was singled out from the conference attendees, since they're presumably in possession of the same information as anybody else who has viewed the Heinrich presentation.

Heinrich himself departed the conference mid-Tuesday, prior to Grubb being questioned.

Queensland Police have said Grubb wasn't arrested, but questioned. Its media unit also said the iPad would be returned as soon as possible.®

Update: Early on Wednesday morning (May 18), the Queensland Police Media Unit said its earlier statements were in error. It tweeted that "@bengrubb was arrested for questioning briefly. Our tweet last night was based on information provided at the time. Apologies." ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
'Kim Kardashian snaps naked selfies with a BLACKBERRY'. *Twitterati gasps*
More alleged private, nude celeb pics appear online
Home Depot ignored staff warnings of security fail laundry list
'Just use cash', former security staffer warns friends
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Who.is does the Harlem Shake
Blame it on LOLing XSS terroristas
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Freenode IRC users told to change passwords after securo-breach
Miscreants probably got in, you guys know the drill by now
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
BitTorrent's peer-to-peer chat app Bleep goes live as public alpha
A good day for privacy as invisble.im also reveals its approach to untraceable chats
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
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.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
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.