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Security Bug in Facebook Reveals Contact Information of 6 Million Users

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Note: This is a guest post written by Ashish Bhatnagar

Privacy has always remained the biggest topic of debate for social networks and IT companies. If you’re one of those people who care about their privacy a lot on social networking sites then surely you won’t be happy after reading this news.

Today, Facebook said in a statement that a security bug in their systems may have exposed the contact information of nearly 6 million users. The bug was exploiting vulnerability from site’s “friend suggestions” feature.

According to Facebook, company recently received information about a bug that was exposing private contact information of Facebook users to other users of the site. People who already had any contact information (i.e. email address) were able to view the
private contact information of that user due to this bug.

The company further explains the breach and says that some of the information that’s used by their systems for making friend suggestions (like address book uploads, contact lists or contact information already added by the user to Facebook) was unwittingly stored in association with user’s contact information as part of their account. People might have then got their hands on the contact information of other users by using the “Download your Information” tool.

In the exported results, they may have got access to the email addresses and contact numbers of their connections. The bug has been there for about a year and Facebook only came to know about it recently. After finding the bug, they quickly fixed it within 20 hours.

According to Facebook, each email address or contact number was downloaded one or two times only. Other email addresses and contact numbers which were downloaded weren’t associated with any Facebook account. The company also said that they haven’t yet got any traces of that user information being used for wrong purposes.

Facebook is emailing the affected users in U.S., Canada and Europe.

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