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News

Hacked facebook page a warning to users of Web 2.0

Fortify : 27 April, 2009  (Technical Article)
High profile Facebook hack serves as a reminder of the need for code auditing to prevent user content from being manipulated
The fact that former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's profile page on Facebook has been hacked may bring a wry smile to many political and security industry observers but, says Fortify Software, the application vulnerability specialist, there is a more serious message behind the page hack fallout.

'Reports suggest that Tony Blair's Faith Foundation Facebook page has been defaced with references to Martin Sheen, the actor who played the US President in the TV drama The West Wing,' said Richard Kirk, Fortify's European Director.

'The fact that his page was hackable, however, highlights the need to include code auditing in the software development process, something that whoever created the Facebook application used by the Faith Foundation appears to have overlooked,' he added.

According to Kirk, the sheer weight of hacking activity on Web portals in general means that any company planning to show its Web pages to the public on the Internet - and that includes most firms - must now carefully code audit their pages and any applications used on the Internet.

This especially applies to Web 2.0 services like Facebook, he says, where the extensible nature of the Internet environment allows users to program their own applets for use on the service.

'We have reached the stage where interactivity is king on the Internet, but it also brings with it the potentially serious problem of IT security. Web 2.0 significantly changes the security paradigm,' he said.

'Anyone coding software that includes any element of Internet interaction, and not just Web 2.0 environments, needs to be aware of the risks, and the fact that hackers are every bit as code-savvy as they are, if not more so,' he added.

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