Researcher claims $12,500 reward for finding Facebook photo bug

The flaw, which has been fixed, could allow a user to delete photos from someone else's account

A security researcher said Facebook will award him US$12,500 for finding a flaw that lets anyone remove photos from another person's profile.

The flaw was described on the blog of 21-year-old Arul Kumar, who lives in the state of Tamil Nadu in south India. Kumar wrote that Facebook initially thought it wasn't a flaw, but later reversed its position. The vulnerability has been fixed.

Users can request that Facebook remove a photo. If Facebook doesn't remove it, the user can appeal to the person on whose account it appears to take it down. If the person chooses, the photo can be deleted with a click.

Kumar said he found a way to allow the complainant to receive a link sent from Facebook that would remove the photo without knowledge of the person who had posted the picture. The flaw did not require knowing the victim's login and password.

The problem resides in a Support Dashboard on Facebook's mobile domain, Kumar wrote. He generated a form to report a photo, then in the URL inserted the photo ID value for the picture he wanted to remove, known as the "cid" parameter.

Kumar then substituted a Facebook user ID for an account he controlled in place of the ID for the person the report is supposed to go to, which is the "rid" parameter.

When the form is completed and sent, Facebook sends a link that allows the receiver to delete the photo. In Kumar's example, the link was sent to the account he controlled.

In a video demonstration, Kumar showed technical details of the flaw using a URL that would be generated if someone wanted to report one of Mark Zuckerberg's photos. But in line with Facebook's rules regarding security research, Kumar wrote that he used two test accounts to actually show how a photo could be deleted.

Facebook gives a minimum $500 reward to the first person who finds a valid security vulnerability. There is no upper limit, and Facebook may award much more depending on the bug's severity. The company did not immediately comment on the reward to Kumar.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicessecuritysocial networkingExploits / vulnerabilitiesinternetFacebook

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.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?