Android Phone Numbers Leaked By Facebook App - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile

Android Phone Numbers Leaked By Facebook App

Symantec spots privacy leak and Facebook issues patch, saying it was an inadvertent coding error and phone numbers did not go public.

The Syrian Electronic Army: 9 Things We Know
(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."

[ More comes to light about whistleblower's job description. Read Snowden's Real Job: Government Hacker. ]

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.
Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Majo
50%
50%
Majo,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/3/2013 | 6:15:54 PM
re: Android Phone Numbers Leaked By Facebook App
The bug would be a jackpot for security surveillance linking phones and Facebook accounts. Pay-per-use phones can be linked to Facebook users, and 'temporary' Facebook accounts to phone accounts. Sweet.
Slideshows
9 Steps Toward Ethical AI
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  5/15/2019
Commentary
How to Assess Digital Transformation Efforts
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  5/14/2019
Commentary
Is AutoML the Answer to the Data Science Skills Shortage?
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  5/10/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
2018 State of the Cloud
2018 State of the Cloud
Cloud adoption is growing, but how are organizations taking advantage of it? Interop ITX and InformationWeek surveyed technology decision-makers to find out, read this report to discover what they had to say!
Video
Current Issue
A New World of IT Management in 2019
This IT Trend Report highlights how several years of developments in technology and business strategies have led to a subsequent wave of changes in the role of an IT organization, how CIOs and other IT leaders approach management, in addition to the jobs of many IT professionals up and down the org chart.
Slideshows
Flash Poll