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The Hacker News - Cybersecurity News and Analysis: Facebook

Facebook Launches 'Discover,' A Secure Proxy to Browse the Internet for Free

Facebook Launches 'Discover,' A Secure Proxy to Browse the Internet for Free

May 06, 2020Ravie Lakshmanan
More than six years after Facebook launched its ambitious Free Basics program to bring the Internet to the masses, the social network is back at it again with a new zero-rating initiative called Discover . The service, available as a mobile web and Android app, allows users to browse the Internet using free daily data caps. Facebook Discover is currently being tested in Peru in partnership with local telecom companies such as Bitel, Claro, Entel, and Movistar. Unlike the regular rich-content browsing, Facebook's latest connectivity project only provides low-bandwidth text-only based browsing, meaning other forms of data-intensive content such as audio and video are not supported. Another key differentiator is that it treats all websites equally, whereas users of Free Basics are limited to a handful of sites that are submitted by developers and meet technical criteria set by Facebook. The move, ultimately, drew criticism for violating principles of net neutrality ,
How to Clear Data Facebook Collects About You from Other Sites and Apps

How to Clear Data Facebook Collects About You from Other Sites and Apps

January 29, 2020Mohit Kumar
Facebook is one of the world's biggest advertising platforms, and that's because it knows a lot about you, me, and everyone. Facebook uses many tools to track people across the Internet, whether they have an account with the social networking site or not, and most of them rely on the online activity data other apps and websites share with Facebook. Everything we do online generates an extensive amount of behavioral data, from buying clothes to looking for hotels, which apps and websites often share with advertising companies, allowing them to build more accurate profiles of your interests and needs. However, after facing worldwide criticism over privacy and data breach controversies, Facebook last summer announced a privacy tool, called Off-Facebook Activity , which gives users more control of their data collected by Facebook. Starting today on Data Privacy Day 2020 , the Off-Facebook Activity feature is now available to every user around the world, which was initiall
Facebook Sued Hong Kong Firm for Hacking Users and Ad Fraud Scheme

Facebook Sued Hong Kong Firm for Hacking Users and Ad Fraud Scheme

December 06, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Following its efforts to take legal action against those misusing its social media platform, Facebook has now filed a new lawsuit against a Hong Kong-based advertising company and two Chinese individuals for allegedly abusing its ad platform to distribute malware and Ad fraud. Facebook filed the lawsuit on Thursday in the Northern District of California against ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd. as well as a Chinese software developer and a marketing director working for the firm, Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao. All three defendants have been alleged to have deceived people into installing malware on their systems, enabling them to compromise user's Facebook accounts and then using those hacked accounts to advertise counterfeit goods and diet pills—which is clearly in violation of Facebook's Terms and Advertising Policies. "The suit seeks to hold accountable ILikeAd Media International Company Ltd. and Chen Xiao Cong and Huang Tao for creating the malware, tr
Malicious Android SDKs Caught Accessing Facebook and Twitter Users Data

Malicious Android SDKs Caught Accessing Facebook and Twitter Users Data

November 26, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Two third-party software development kits integrated by over hundreds of thousands of Android apps have been caught holding unauthorized access to users' data associated with their connected social media accounts. In a blog post published yesterday, Twitter revealed that an SDK developed by OneAudience contains a privacy-violating component which may have passed some of its users' personal data to the OneAudience servers. Following Twitter's disclosure, Facebook today released a statement revealing that an SDK from another company, Mobiburn , is also under investigation for a similar malicious activity that might have exposed its users connected with certain Android apps to data collection firms. Both OneAudience and Mobiburn are data monetization services that pay developers to integrate their SDKs into the apps, which then collect users' behavioral data and then use it with advertisers for targeted marketing. In general, third-party software development k
New WhatsApp Bug Could Have Let Hackers Secretly Install Spyware On Your Devices

New WhatsApp Bug Could Have Let Hackers Secretly Install Spyware On Your Devices

November 16, 2019Mohit Kumar
The recent controversies surrounding the WhatsApp hacking haven't yet settled, and the world's most popular messaging platform could be in the choppy waters once again. The Hacker News has learned that last month WhatsApp quietly patched yet another critical vulnerability in its app that could have allowed attackers to remotely compromise targeted devices and potentially steal secured chat messages and files stored on them. The vulnerability — tracked as CVE-2019-11931 — is a stack-based buffer overflow issue that resided in the way previous WhatsApp versions parse the elementary stream metadata of an MP4 file, resulting in denial-of-service or remote code execution attacks. To remotely exploit the vulnerability, all an attacker needs is the phone number of targeted users and send them a maliciously crafted MP4 file over WhatsApp, which eventually can be programmed to install a malicious backdoor or spyware app on the compromised devices silently. The vulnerability
Is Facebook Secretly Accessing Your iPhone's Camera? Some Users Claimed

Is Facebook Secretly Accessing Your iPhone's Camera? Some Users Claimed

November 12, 2019Wang Wei
It appears that Facebook at the center of yet another issue involving privacy. Reportedly, multiple iPhone users have come forward on social media complaining that the Facebook app secretly activates their smartphone's camera in the background while they scroll through their Facebook feeds or looking at the photos on the social network. As shown in the Twitter videos below, when users click on an image or video on the social media to full screen and then return it back to normal, an issue with the Facebook app for iOS slightly shifts the app to the right. It opens a space on the left from where users can see the iPhone's camera activated in the background. However, at this moment, it's not clear if it's just an UI bug where Facebook app incorrectly but only accesses the camera interface, or if it also records or uploads something, which, if proven right, would be the most disastrous moment in Facebook's history. Found a @facebook #security & #pri
Facebook Reveals New Data Leak Incident Affecting Groups' Members

Facebook Reveals New Data Leak Incident Affecting Groups' Members

November 06, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Facebook today revealed yet another security incident admitting that roughly 100 app developers may have improperly accessed its users' data in certain Facebook groups, including their names and profile pictures. In a blog post published Tuesday, Facebook said the app developers that unauthorizedly access this information were primarily social media management and video streaming apps that let group admins manage their groups more effectively and help members share videos to the groups, respectively. For those unaware, Facebook made some changes to its Group API in April 2018, a month after the revelation of the Cambridge Analytica scandal , limiting apps integrated with a group to only access information, like the group's name, the number of members and the posts' content. To get access to additional information like names and profile pictures of members in connection with group activities, group members had to opt-in. However, it seems like Facebook once again fa
Facebook Sues Israeli NSO Spyware Firm For Hacking WhatsApp Users

Facebook Sues Israeli NSO Spyware Firm For Hacking WhatsApp Users

October 29, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Finally, for the very first time, an encrypted messaging service provider is taking legal action against a private entity that has carried out malicious attacks against its users. Facebook filed a lawsuit against Israeli mobile surveillance firm NSO Group on Tuesday, alleging that the company was actively involved in hacking users of its end-to-end encrypted WhatsApp messaging service. Earlier this year, it was discovered that WhatsApp had a critical vulnerability that attackers were found exploiting in the wild to remotely install Pegasus spyware on targeted Android and iOS devices. The flaw (CVE-2019-3568) successfully allowed attackers to silently install the spyware app on targeted phones by merely placing a WhatsApp video call with specially crafted requests, even when the call was not answered. Developed by NSO Group, Pegasus allows access to an incredible amount of data from victims' smartphones remotely, including their text messages, emails, WhatsApp chats,
Facebook Now Pays Hackers for Reporting Security Bugs in 3rd-Party Apps

Facebook Now Pays Hackers for Reporting Security Bugs in 3rd-Party Apps

October 16, 2019Mohit Kumar
Following a series of security mishaps and data abuse through its social media platform, Facebook today expanding its bug bounty program in a very unique way to beef up the security of third-party apps and websites that integrate with its platform. Last year, Facebook launched " Data Abuse Bounty " program to reward anyone who reports valid events of 3rd-party apps collecting Facebook users' data and passing it off to malicious parties, violating Facebook's revamped data policies. Apparently, it turns out that most of the time, Facebook users' data that had been misused was exposed in the first place as the result of a vulnerability or security weakness in third-party apps or services. The Facebook ecosystem contains millions of third-party apps, and unfortunately, very few of them have a vulnerability disclosure program or offer bug bounty rewards to white-hat hackers for responsibly reporting bugs in their codebase. Because of this communication g
Popular Period Tracking Apps Share Your Sexual Health Data With Facebook

Popular Period Tracking Apps Share Your Sexual Health Data With Facebook

September 12, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Hello Ladies, let's talk about periods, privacy, and Facebook. Are you using an app on your smartphone to keep tracks on your periods? Well, it's worrying, because it might be sharing your extremely sensitive information like menstrual cycle and sexual activities with Facebook. A new investigative report from UK-based advocacy group Privacy International revealed how some most popular period tracker apps used by millions of women share their most private health information—including monthly period cycles, contraception use, sexual life, symptoms, like swelling and cramps, and more—directly with Facebook. These period-tracking apps, listed below, transfer your data to Facebook the moment you open them, regardless of the fact that you have a Facebook account or not, and whether you are logged into the social network platform or not. Period-tracking apps are used by women to keep tracks on their monthly period cycles, but mostly they are being used by those who want t
Facebook Patches "Memory Disclosure Using JPEG Images" Flaws in HHVM Servers

Facebook Patches "Memory Disclosure Using JPEG Images" Flaws in HHVM Servers

September 09, 2019Wang Wei
Facebook has patched two high-severity vulnerabilities in its server application that could have allowed remote attackers to unauthorisedly obtain sensitive information or cause a denial of service just by uploading a maliciously constructed JPEG image file. The vulnerabilities reside in HHVM (HipHop Virtual Machine)—a high-performance, open source virtual machine developed by Facebook for executing programs written in PHP and Hack programming languages. HHVM uses a just-in-time (JIT) compilation approach to achieve superior performance of your Hack and PHP code while maintaining the development flexibility that the PHP language provides. Since the affected HHVM server application is open-source and free, both issues may also impact other websites that use HHVM, including Wikipedia, Box and especially those which allow their users to upload images on the server. Both the vulnerabilities, as listed below, reside due to a possible memory overflow in the GD extension of HHVM wh
Use This Privacy Tool to View and Clear Your 'Off-Facebook Activity' Data

Use This Privacy Tool to View and Clear Your 'Off-Facebook Activity' Data

August 20, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Well, here we have great news for Facebook users, which is otherwise terrible for marketers and publishers whose businesses rely on Facebook advertisement for re-targeted conversations. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal , Facebook has taken several privacy measures in the past one year with an aim to give its users more control over their data and transparency about how the social media giant and other apps on its platform use that data. Now in its new effort, Facebook has launched a new privacy feature that allows its users to control data that the social media platform receives from other apps and websites about their online activity. Dubbed " Off-Facebook Activity ," the feature was initially announced by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg last year as "Clear History," allowing users to clear the data that third-party websites and apps share with Facebook. "Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us infor
Facebook Sues Two Android App Developers for Click Injection Fraud

Facebook Sues Two Android App Developers for Click Injection Fraud

August 08, 2019Mohit Kumar
Facebook has filed a lawsuit against two shady Android app developers accused of making illegal money by hijacking users' smartphones to fraudulently click on Facebook ads. According to Facebook, Hong Kong-based 'LionMobi' and Singapore-based 'JediMobi' app developers were distributing malicious Android apps via the official Google Play Store that exploit a technique known as "click injection fraud." Click injection is a type of attribution fraud where fraudsters manipulate the attributions to steal the credit from the actual source of app installation in an advertising process that involves Cost Per Installation model. In simple words, a malicious app installed on a device automatically generates a fake click to the advertisement network with its own tracking codes when it finds that the user is installing a new app from any other source to claim itself as the source of the installation. Therefore, Advertisers end up paying commission to the wro
Viral FaceApp Unnecessarily Requests Access to Users' Facebook Friends List

Viral FaceApp Unnecessarily Requests Access to Users' Facebook Friends List

July 29, 2019Mohit Kumar
FaceApp—the AI-powered photo-morphing app that recently gone viral for its age filter but hit the headlines for its controversial privacy policy—has been found collecting the list of your Facebook friends for no reason. The Russian-made FaceApp has been around since the spring of 2017 but taken social media by storm over the course of the past few weeks as millions of people downloaded the app to see how they would look when they are older or younger, or swap genders. The app also contains a feature that allows users to download and edit photos from their Facebook accounts, which only works when a user enables FaceApp to access the social media account via the 'Login with Facebook' option. As you can see in the screenshot above, besides requesting for access to your basic profile information and photos, FaceApp also fetches the list of your Facebook friends "who also use and have shared their friends' lists with FaceApp." Have you yet asked yourself why
This Flaw Could Have Allowed Hackers to Hack Any Instagram Account Within 10 Minutes

This Flaw Could Have Allowed Hackers to Hack Any Instagram Account Within 10 Minutes

July 15, 2019Mohit Kumar
Watch out! Facebook-owned photo-sharing service has recently patched a critical vulnerability that could have allowed hackers to compromise any Instagram account without requiring any interaction from the targeted users. Instagram is growing quickly—and with the most popular social media network in the world after Facebook, the photo-sharing network absolutely dominates when it comes to user engagement and interactions. Despite having advanced security mechanisms in place, bigger platforms like Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and Instagram are not completely immune to hackers and contain severe vulnerabilities. Some vulnerabilities have recently been patched , some are still under the process of being fixed, and many others most likely do exist, but haven't been found just yet. Details of one such critical vulnerability in Instagram surfaced today on the Internet that could have allowed a remote attacker to reset the password for any Instagram account and take complete contr
Facebook to Pay $5 Billion Fine to Settle FTC Privacy Investigation

Facebook to Pay $5 Billion Fine to Settle FTC Privacy Investigation

July 13, 2019Swati Khandelwal
After months of negotiations, the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a record $5 billion settlement with Facebook over its privacy investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal . The settlement will put an end to a wide-ranging probe that began more than a year ago and centers around the violation of a 2011 agreement Facebook made with the FTC that required Facebook to gain explicit consent from users to share their personal data. The FTC launched an investigation into the social media giant last year after it was revealed that the company allowed Cambridge Analytica access to the personal data of around  87 million Facebook users without their explicit consent. Now, according to a new report published by the Wall Street Journal, the FTC commissioners this week finally voted to approve a $5 billion settlement, with three Republicans voting to approve the deal and two Democrats against it. Facebook anticipated the fine to between $3 billion and
Hackers Used WhatsApp 0-Day Flaw to Secretly Install Spyware On Phones

Hackers Used WhatsApp 0-Day Flaw to Secretly Install Spyware On Phones

May 13, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Whatsapp has recently patched a severe vulnerability that was being exploited by attackers to remotely install surveillance malware on a few "selected" smartphones by simply calling the targeted phone numbers over Whatsapp audio call. Discovered, weaponized and then sold by the Israeli company NSO Group that produces the most advanced mobile spyware on the planet, the WhatsApp exploit installs Pegasus spyware on to Android and iOS devices. According to an advisory published by Facebook, a buffer overflow vulnerability in WhatsApp VOIP stack allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on target phones by sending a specially crafted series of SRTCP packets. Apparently, the vulnerability, identified as CVE-2019-3568 , can successfully be exploited to install the spyware and steal data from a targeted Android phone or iPhone by merely placing a WhatsApp call, even when the call is not answered. Also, the victim would not be able to find out about the intrusion af
New York, Canada, Ireland Launch New Investigations Into Facebook Privacy Breaches

New York, Canada, Ireland Launch New Investigations Into Facebook Privacy Breaches

April 27, 2019Swati Khandelwal
Facebook has a lot of problems, then there are a lot of problems for Facebook—and both are not going to end anytime sooner. Though Facebook has already set aside $5 billion from its revenue to cover a possible fine the company is expecting as a result of an FTC investigation over privacy violations, it seems to be just first installment of what Facebook has to pay for continuously ignoring users' privacy. This week, Facebook has been hit with three new separate investigations from various governmental authorities—both in the United States and abroad—over the company's mishandling of its users' data . New York Attorney General to Investigate Facebook Email Collection Scandal New York Attorney General is opening an investigation into Facebook's unauthorized collection of the email contacts of more than 1.5 million users during site registration without their permission. Earlier this month, Facebook was caught practicing the worst ever user-verification mechanism
Facebook Could Be Fined Up To $5 Billion Over Privacy Violations

Facebook Could Be Fined Up To $5 Billion Over Privacy Violations

April 24, 2019Mohit Kumar
Facebook expects to face a massive fine of up to $5 billion from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as the result of an investigation into its privacy policies—that's about one month's revenue for the social media giant. To be clear the amount of fine is not what the FTC has announced or hinted yet; instead, it's an estimated due that Facebook disclosed on Wednesday in its first quarter 2019 financial earnings report. In its earnings report, Facebook said the company had set $3 billion aside in anticipation of the settlement with the FTC, who launched a probe into Facebook following the Cambridge Analytica scandal . The probe centers around the violation of a 2011 agreement Facebook made with the FTC that required the social media to gain explicit consent from users to share their data. The FTC launched an investigation into Facebook last year after it was revealed that the company allowed Cambridge Analytica access to the personal data of around 50 million Face
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