Facebook Suffers Major Security Bug

Posted by at 12:28 pm on June 24, 2013

Facebook LogoFacebook users run the range in their concern for privacy, but none will be particularly pleased with the news the social media company revealed to the public on Sunday, however, since it appears that a flaw in Facebook’s security may have resulted in a massive exposure of users’ personal information.

According to a statement published on Sunday, the security oversight arises from Facebook’s process for generating user-specific friend suggestions (in other words, the “People You May Know” section that pops up in your profile’s sidebar). The bug, which evidently allowed some users’ contact information to be accessed by non-friends, arose from the program that Facebook uses to generate and present possible friend connections.

Recommendations on Facebook, whether they come in the form of the aforementioned “People You May Know” sidebar or as pages that might appeal to the user in question, utilize a good deal of personal information to assure that they are customized in the most effective manner possible. For friend recommendations, Facebook browses friend and contact lists (or address books) to find people with whom you share a significant number of mutual friends.

Evidently, the security flaw took the contact information derived from those searches–information usually kept private by most users–and made it public in a manner that represents a major breach in the company’s commitment to user privacy. For example, contact information may have been made freely available to all friends viewing your account (regardless of your privacy settings), or even to non-friends for whom your profile appears on the “People You May Know” tab.

Facebook estimated that six million users had been affected by the security oversight. And while the information revealed as a result of the bug is limited to phone numbers and email addresses, many privacy-minded individuals may take this occurrence as a sign that Facebook is getting careless with their personal information.

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