Facebook CEO's page hacked by web developer
An unemployed Palestinian developer named Khalil Shreateh tried several times to report a bug to Facebook's security team. When no one got back to him, he took the next step: He exploited the bug to leave a public comment on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's wall.
“First sorry for breaking your privacy and post to your wall,” an apparent screenshot of the hack reads. “I has (sic) no other choice to make after all the reports i sent to Facebook team.”
The break-in, detailed on Shreateh's blog (and in several agitated posts from Facebook developers on Hacker News), has been more than a little embarrassing for Facebook.
But it's not exactly newsworthy that Shreateh found a bug — that happens all the time. In fact, Facebook runs a program that encourages white hat hackers to find and report bugs in Facebook infrastructure in exchange for a cash reward. What is unusual is that Facebook didn't respond to Shreateh's initial reports about the bug, and that Shreateh then exploited it in violation of Facebook's policies for white hat hackers.
“Exploiting bugs to impact real users is not acceptable behavior for a white hat,” insisted Matt Jones, a Facebook software engineer, on the forum Hacker News.
So why didn't Facebook respond right away to Shreateh's reports? Judging by the email threads with Facebook's security team that Shreateh posted on his blog, it looks like his bug was lost — literally — in translation. Shreateh's English is a little shaky, and the Facebook developer he corresponded with doesn't seem to understand the report.
On Hacker News, Jones explains that they often get reports from “people whose English isn't great,” and that usually “it's something we work with just fine.” According to Facebook's own reports, the company relies heavily on international white hat hackers to keep its system secure — of the 329 legitimate bugs reported by white hats in the past two years, more than 260 came from outside the United States.
Facebook pays bounties for bug reporting, but Shreateh said he will not receive a bounty for his work — per an email from Facebook, he violated the terms of the program when he hacked Zuckerberg's account. That has enraged some in the security community, who argue Shreateh exposed an important vulnerability in good faith, using the only means available. The bug has since been fixed, according to Jones's Hacker News post.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pennsylvania shale gas producers received hundreds of environmental citations in 4 years, PennEnvironment says
- SEC alleges BNY Mellon bribed foreign investors by handing internships to their relatives
- Obamacare enrollment up in Pennsylvania
- U.S. Steel warns it may lay off almost 2,000 workers in Alabama, Texas
- MSA Safety products in demand to protect workers in dangerous jobs
- U.S. Steel has 1st profitable year since 2008
- Emergency room visits decline as navigators steer patients to proper medical care
- U.S. company outlooks worry investors, sending stocks lower
- India nuke deals still thorny for U.S. despite ‘breakthrough’
- Energy companies vie for experienced workers with skills in high demand
- Drillers bid millions for oil, gas beneath West Virginia public lands