Facebook tool could be exploited by cyber-bullies

Personal attacks capable with new Facebook tool, security vendor warns

A recent Facebook feature can be exploited to be a cyber-bullying tool in the wrong hands, a security vendor warns.

Facebook's new feature – "reply to this e-mail to comment on this status" – gives attackers a way to post messages on other people's Facebook pages, according to a blog by security vendor F-Secure.

These messages could include personal attacks that seem to come from a user but are actually written by someone who has compromised that person's e-mail account, for instance.

The intent of the feature is to allow Facebook users to respond directly from their e-mail when they receive e-mail notifications that include messages that have been posted to their Facebook accounts. They can respond without having to go to the Facebook site first, eliminating a step and thereby saving time.

But eliminating that step can also leave a crack in Facebook's armour, according to F-Secure security adviser for North America Sean Sullivan. Authenticating to the Facebook site before writing a reply drops out of the equation, so someone other than account holders can post. "They can put words in my mouth," he says.

If a user's e-mail account is compromised via phishing or direct hacking, spammers can respond to any Facebook notifications they come across, Sullivan says. It has posted a demonstration of how this can work here.

Facebook users can opt out of receiving the e-mail notifications altogether by adjusting their settings.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Tim Greene

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Deals on Good Gear Guide

Deals on Good Gear Guide


Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni


For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.


Latest Jobs


Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?