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Important security hole found in Facebook

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March 26, 2008

On Monday, a critical security flaw has been discovered in popular social networking site Facebook that made it possible for users to look through other people' personal photo albums and confidential data. This security hole is despite Facebook developing new security features last week to offer members better ways to restrict access to their personal information.

Notwithstanding Facebook's attempt to increase security measures for its users, some security observers say they are able to pull up the most recent pictures posted by Facebook members and their friends, even if the privacy settings were set to restrict the audience to a select few.

Byron Ng, a computer technician from Vancouver, B.C. brought the issue to light when he began looking for security weaknesses in the site after last week's privacy upgrade announcement. According to reports by The Register, Ng was able to do this by guessing the ID of a photo.

Late Monday, Facebook spokesperson Brandee Barker said "the company has repaired the security hole and would continue to make enhancements to the site's security because Facebook takes privacy issues very seriously."

Facebook apparently didn't check for user permissions and even gave hints about what the ID of recent photos might be, so through this method, Ng was able to find private pictures of Paris Hilton at the Emmy awards as well as ones of her brother consuming alcohol with friends.

Earlier in January, MySpace also suffered a similar security hole that exposed its members' private photos. Despite many attempts to keep information private and secure, this isn't the first time a social networking site has accidentally let personal information leak to the public.

In June of last year, Facebook was again leaking sensitive details like users' political views and religious backgrounds.

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Source: Internet Security News.

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