The security of Facebook has been compromised yet again. Image: Flickr / marckjerland / CC-BY-ND

Facebook is no stranger to privacy concerns. The latest privacy concerns about Facebook echo recent phone information abuses. A hole in the way certain links were coded could have exposed millions of Facebook accounts.

Symantec identifies security flaw

Symantec is a computer security firm and software provider. In a blog post yesterday, Symantec’s engineers revealed a “spare key” flaw in the programming of Facebook. Facebook had already taken corrective action by the time Symantec revealed the flaw. This spare key glitch revealed hundreds of thousands of passwords and pieces of personal account information. The key, if properly used, would have allowed advertisers to access accounts, chats and friend information.

Protecting your private information

Though Facebook has corrected the flaw that revealed hundreds of thousands of pieces of personal information, some of that data is still available online. As with all private data stored online, the first step to ensuring security is to use appropriate passwords. This means a password that is not the same as any other password you use online and contains both numbers and letters. You should also regularly change your passwords to ensure that cached versions of your information that live online do not work indefinitely.

Flaw identified before exploit

Unlike most computer-security exploits, this particular Facebook breach was discovered before it had been exploited. When informed of the flaw, Facebook acknowledged that it exists and took action to fix it. Google and Apple are also both facing strong questions about their security procedures. Both companies acknowledge that phones running their operating systems could track private information of users. In short, private information can be tough to keep a lid on when using internet technology, unless you are exceptionally careful — and even then, keeping good personal privacy practices is a good idea.

Sources

Symantec: http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/facebook-applications-accidentally-leaking-access-third-parties
NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=136206758

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