Bug Attack on Facebook : The Question of Web Security Assumes Significance

June 24, 2013, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

You might have already heard Facebook admitting that a security bug had exposed users’ personal contact information to other users who were connected to them. This Facebook bug has reportedly affected about 6 million accounts.

What makes it a serious issue? Going by what Facebook has posted a blog on its security page,

“… some of the information used to make friend recommendations and reduce the number of invitations we send was inadvertently stored in association with people’s contact information as part of their account on Facebook.”


So, that in turn, has resulted in this:  If a person has downloaded an archive of their Facebook account through Facebook’s Download Your Information (DYI) tool, they may have been provided with additional email addresses or telephone numbers for their contacts or people with whom they have some connection.

Sources related to Facebook suggest that the bug has been there since last year, but it was not recognized until last week. And interestingly, this bug was found by someone going through the social network’s ‘white hat’ hacker program and not by Facebook team. But Facebook has confirmed that the bug was fixed in less than 24 hours.

Facebook also confirmed that the bug has also revealed the email addresses and phone numbers of some non- Facebook users.

However, the Facebook team declared that each individual email address or phone numbers was only exposed to just one person, and moreover, no developers or advertisers have access to the DYI tool.

We hear that the social media giant feels that though the impact of this bug was minimum, the team is upset about this incident. That means, Facebook would now make sure that such issues don’t crop up again.

The blog post has also promised that the social network site will improve its safety procedures and will keep its users information safe and secure. Currently, the Facebook team is trying to notify the affected users via email.

With around 6 million user accounts out in the open, this could be seen as serious. The troubleshooting done by Facebook is laudable, but then such a bug should have never reared its head. So what does the failure point to?

Though anger is the ruling emotion among Facebook users  at the current moment, on  deeper analysis, it might turn out that being social also has its risks.

With such a successful platform having been compromised, anyone on the web needs to fear such issues might crop up in some way or the other. But then the World Wide Web is synonymous with such incidents, right? Ensuring safety is everyman’s task. Or the bugs will get you, folks!

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