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Category: SocialMedia

Facebook Security Flaw May Have Jeopardized User Info — Symantec

Written on May 12, 2011 by R. Depp

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A recent report by Symantec says that thousands of Facebook apps have long been compromising private information of millions of Facebook users.

Symantec Corp., the largest security software maker based in California, published a report claiming that for several years now, almost 100,000 have been leaking access codes from profiles of the social network’s users.

The report also says that security flaws of apps could have given advertisers and other third parties access to Facebook users’ profiles, although a Facebook spokesman said that there is “no evidence” of this occurring.

“We estimate that as of April 2011, close to 100,000 applications were enabling this leakage. We estimate that over the years, hundreds of thousands of applications may have inadvertently leaked millions of access tokens to third parties,” Symantec writes.

Symantec these “access tokens” are just like spare keys that let apps interact with a user’s profile.

These access tokens, according to Symantec, are often used if a user would like an app to automatically post game updates on your wall, for example. These Facebook apps function according to those contraints as a user gives these apps permission to access certain parts of his or her profile.

Symantec’s report claims that “these tokens were included in URLs sent to the application host and were then sent to advertisers and analytics platforms.” Once the recipient recognizes the codes, then they would be able to access the Facebook users’s walls and profiles.

Although Facebook announced on Tuesday that the app flaw has been fixed, Symantec still strictly recommends that users change their passwords right away.

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