Facebook fixes flaw that allowed access to private photos

Graham Cluley
@gcluley

In the end, it took a picture of Mark Zuckerberg holding a dead chicken to get Facebook to fix a flaw that allowed strangers to access your private photos.

In an astonishing faux pas, the social networking site allowed users to have access to other users’ personal and private photographs that would normally be hidden from view – by taking advantage of a flaw in the “Report inappropriate profile photo” feature.

The flaw worked like this. If you’re a Facebook user , you can report other users’ profile pictures as being “inappropriate”. For instance, you can say that they contain “nudity or pornography”.

However, Facebook then gives an opportunity to select “additional photos to include with your report” and displays a selection of photographs – which may not be shared publicly.

The flaw was highlighted on a body building message forum (yes, really..) but really got the world’s attention when someone posted thirteen private photos from the Facebook account of Mark Zuckerberg…

Read more in my article on the Naked Security website.

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Graham Cluley is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s when he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and is an international public speaker on the topic of computer security, hackers, and online privacy. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley, or drop him an email.

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