Symantec spots privacy leak and Facebook issues patch, saying it was an inadvertent coding error and phone numbers did not go public.
(click image for larger view)
The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
Facebook has fixed a bug in its Android app, following reports that the app was inadvertently leaking users' phone numbers to the social network.
The "privacy leak" was spotted by Symantec, which said that the latest version of Norton Mobile Security, which includes a new Mobile Insight tool that dynamically assesses Android apps for potential security or privacy violations, had flagged Facebook's Android app.
"The first time you launch the Facebook application, even before logging in, your phone number will be sent over the Internet to Facebook servers," according to a Symantec blog post. "You do not need to provide your phone number, log in, initiate a specific action, or even need a Facebook account for this to happen."
According to Google Play, Facebook's Android app has been installed on between 100 million and 500 million devices. Symantec said that "a significant portion of those devices are likely affected."
Numerous Android apps slurp excessive data for various reasons -- perhaps owing to developers' coding errors, to support "find my friend" features, or to allow developers or advertising networks to better track individual users.
But Facebook spokesman Derick Mains, confirming Symantec's bug report, said it had resulted from an inadvertent coding error. "The Android beta we released last week includes the fix," he said via email. "We did not use or process these numbers in any way, and have already deleted them from our servers."
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
2017 State of IT ReportIn today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Cybersecurity Strategies for the Digital EraAt its core, digital business relies on strong security practices. In addition, leveraging security intelligence and integrating security with operations and developer teams can help organizations push the boundaries of innovation.