18 May 2011

Facebook applications leaked personal information, report says

The world’s largest social networking website, Facebook, has been leaking personal details of its users for years, according to a recent report by an internet security company.

The problem is due to a programming bug, which allows applications to access tokens, and advertisers to view numbers and letters to access Facebook accounts on the web.

"Access tokens are like the 'spare keys' granted by you to the Facebook applications,” said a blog post from the security firm. "Each token or 'spare key' is associated with a select set of permissions, like reading your wall, accessing your friend's profile, posting to your wall, etc."

Facebook applications are granted these privileges for the ability write on profile walls, but application developers accidentally gave advertisers a way to view information.

The company also said that during the years, it estimates that hundreds of thousands of applications may have leaked millions of tokens to third parties.

Facebook has also been hit by cyber criminals during recent current events. As news circulated about the death of Osama bin Laden, Facebook was hit by a virus, easily spreading due to the malicious links being posted on users’ profiles.