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.
Commentary
Future IT Teams Will Include More Non-Traditional Members
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/1/2020
News
COVID-19: Using Data to Map Infections, Hospital Beds, and More
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  3/25/2020
Commentary
Enterprise Guide to Robotic Process Automation
Cathleen Gagne, Managing Editor, InformationWeek,  3/23/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Video
Current Issue
IT Careers: Tech Drives Constant Change
Advances in information technology and management concepts mean that IT professionals must update their skill sets, even their career goals on an almost yearly basis. In this IT Trend Report, experts share advice on how IT pros can keep up with this every-changing job market. Read it today!
Slideshows
Flash Poll