Feeds

Facebook denies malware risk from message bug

Fixes security bypass flaw anyway

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Facebook has fixed a flaw that may have allowed users to attach executables to messages sent to other punters on the social network.

Security blogger Nathan Power notified Facebook after finding the bug, which involved fiddling with messages sent between users who were not necessarily contacts. Facebook normally blocks the exchange of executable files - but Power discovered that by adding an extra space to the end of a filename, it was possible to get around these restrictions, as he explains in a blog post here.

These executable files could very well be laced with malware. Users can get infected if they are tricked into opening the malicious program on a vulnerable machine, something the bug (by itself) doesn't do. Emails with malicious attachments have proved to be an incredibly successful attack vector for years so seeing this getting replayed in the venue of social networking gives El Reg the fear.

Facebook said last week that a fix was unnecessary before deciding to modify its systems this week after successfully reproducing the "undesirable behaviour" reported by Power in late September.

In a statement, Facebook said: "We were originally unsuccessful in reproducing the behaviour described by the reporter, as this behaviour does not occur for all browser and operating system combinations. Upon further investigation, we have determined which scenarios were behaving undesirably and have pushed a fix to ensure a consistent attachment experience across browsers."

Despite the tweak, Facebook continues to insist that its users were never at risk. It said the social network has multiple layers of security to protect people from malicious files. "Facebook Messages does not rely solely on searching the plain-text of the file name to detect potentially malicious files but has antivirus protection that scans every message for malware and malicious links," it said.

Facebook uses anti-malware technology from Websense to carry out this screening of binaries. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
Reddit wipes clean leaked celeb nudie pics, tells users to zip it
Now we've had all THAT TRAFFIC, we 'deplore' this theft
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
TorrentLocker unpicked: Crypto coding shocker defeats extortionists
Lousy XOR opens door into which victims can shove a foot
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
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.
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?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.