You’re Not Safe Using Facebook Apps

Researchers Test Facebot

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[ Social Media]

In the name of finding any possible way that hackers can get at your data, a group of researchers has penetrated Facebook via a could-be-malicious application proving that Facebook Apps are unsafe. The app seems harmless enough. It’s a National Geographic "photo of the day" app that gives users (obviously) a different photo each day.

Facebot App

What users of this app don’t see, however, is that there are some evil (if in the wrong hands) things going on behind the scenes. The research paper gets a little complicated, but PC World sums it up nicely:

In the background, every time the application is clicked, it sends a 600 K-byte HTTP request for images to a victim’s Web site.

Those requests, as well as those images, are not seen by someone using Photo of the Day, which the researchers have termed a "Facebot" application. The effect is a flood of traffic to the victim’s Web site, known as a denial-of-service attack.

According to the researchers, a "facebot" application could grab personal details from a user’s Facebook account and post them to a remote server. This should make application users feel a little uneasy, particularly those who like their privacy.

Ryan Singel at Wired says, "Now, coders who control a really popular social networking app aren’t likely to jeopardize their oil well for a prank, but it would not be hard for a slightly popular application to become rogue without anyone ever knowing or being able to figure out it was happening."

The research paper points out that Facebook could prevent such applications from appearing on the social network. They would have to make sure that the apps didn’t interact with outside hosts.

Social network security is probably going to be an increasingly important topic as social media continues to gain popularity, and see widespread use among more platforms. Social networks are being integrated more with mobile devices, blogs, and business web sites, and this is where trouble could really start to snowball.

You’re Not Safe Using Facebook Apps
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  • Guest

    I read this paper and added the app (http://www.new.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=8752912084)

    It sounds cool that Facebook can become an attack platform.

    I am wondering if Facebook has security holes, like this described in the paper …..

  • Jeffrey Pipes Guice

    I’m interested in reaching social network websites who are interested in trading equity for a $10,000,000 media campaign.

  • http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=Samantha_Hall Samantha

    So what is the big news?

    That anything can be hacked somehow sometime on the internet?


  • Subhradip

    Hackers will keep hacking and anti-virus company like Norton/McAfee will keep selling their pricy product to protect us… and sandwiched between them are we innocent by-standers who has to pay either way.
    Facebook has now in their custody millions of profile/pics/gossips and chats…they have literally a record of half of world’s population in their servers in updated in real time… what else the FBI/Interpol wants!of course the millions of third party traders who can exploit us on these venerability. This is similar to human trading in old times.. its just re-named a social networking.

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