Application security, Network Security, Patch/Configuration Management, Vulnerability Management

Facebook fixes polling feature bug that could have deleted users’ photos

When Facebook debuted a new polling feature earlier this month, it also introduced a vulnerability that could have allowed a malicious actor to delete any photo saved to the social media site.

Security researcher Pouya Darabi discovered the vulnerability on Nov. 3, and Facebook promptly repaired the issue two days later, according to a personal blog post written by Darabi himself.

Darabi found that when a user created a new poll, the feature would send a request containing a gif URL or image ID – but a malicious actor could have changed the field value to any other image's ID, making that image appear there instead. Then, upon deleting the poll, the image would be completely deleted – not just from the poll, but from Facebook itself.

Darabi said he earned a $10,000 bug bounty for his discovery.

“This kind of boo-boo suggests a more serious permissions-based problem with Facebook,” writes security expert Graham Cluley on his personal blog. “You may be able to add any image that you can find on Facebook (‘read access') but there's no way that that should translate into meaning that you can also command Facebook to delete the image (‘write access').

Bradley Barth

As director of multimedia content strategy at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for online conferences, webcasts, podcasts video/multimedia projects — often serving as moderator or host. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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