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Facebook security breached

Kimberly Guest
By Kimberly Guest
Johannesburg, 01 Aug 2007

International media and bloggers are today reporting that social networking site Facebook has encountered a security breach.

The breach, says UK-based The Register, saw private information being accessible to all users. This included other users' message inboxes.

Founder of local legal firm Jacobson Attorneys Paul Jacobson noted in a post on the company's Web site that he had received several instant messages from friends asking whether his Facebook inbox was still intact.

"It then transpired that people had been logging into their Facebook accounts only to find someone else's messages in their Facebook inbox. There were also more mentions of messages being sent apparently from people whose inboxes had been exchanged for other people's inboxes. In short, it was chaos," he said.

Third party to blame

Although Facebook has not responded to ITWeb's request for a statement on the matter, several sites claim the company has issued a statement saying the site was temporarily down to fix a bug.

"This was not the result of a security breach. Specifically, the bug caused some third-party proxy servers to cache otherwise inaccessible content. The result was that an isolated group of users could see some pages that were not intended for them. The site has now been restored and we apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused," Facebook is reported to have said.

No warnings, explanations or apologies for yesterday's incident could be found on the networking site this morning.

Early last month, Facebook employee Carolyn Abram said the site had reached the 30 million active user milestone. This morning, the site said it had in excess of 179 000 SA-based members.

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