How I was able to get your facebook private friend list [Responsible Disclosure]
A User Data Disclosure occurs when personal information held by an organisation is lost or subjected to unauthorised access or disclosure. in general it is a security incident in which sensitive, protected or confidential data is copied, transmitted, viewed, stolen or used by an individual unauthorized to do so.
As per facebook help page, “People You May Know” is a feature that can help people find friends on Facebook. People You May Know suggestions come from things like,
* Having friends in common, or mutual friends. This is the most common reason for suggestions.
* Being in the same Facebook group or being tagged in the same photo.
* Your networks (example: your school, university or work) and etc.
Facebook friends list Privacy
By default, the Friends section of your profile is public. Facebook has Privacy option to limit the sharing of those infomation to others ( Public, Friends, only me etc) Source: FB help link
About the Issue:
“This issue could have allowed a malicious user to infer a victim’s private social graph by entering victim’s confirmed phone number during user registration.”
Steps followed to break FB privacy restrictions
- Create a new FB account with the victim’s mobile number. After completing sign up it will redirect to “SMS confirmation” page
2. Since the attacker doesn’t have the victim’s SMS, the attacker needs to click on the “Update Contact info” button and entered their own new email id “email@example.com”
3. Complete the account verification by entering the code, which the attacker received via email.
4. Then navigate to this page https://www.facebook.com/friends/requests/?fcref=swpsa or curl below request will disclose the most of the victim’s private friends to attacker.
curl ‘https://www.facebook.com/gettingstarted/?step=friend_requests' -H ‘authority: www.facebook.com' -H ‘referer: https://www.facebook.com/gettingstarted/' -H ‘cookie: xxxx’ — compressed
5. There are also couple of other URLs that disclose the private friends list to the attacker.
This issue could have allowed a malicious user to infer a victim’s private social graph by entering victim’s confirmed phone number during user registration.”
The combination of two useful features (suggesting the friends, User registration) made this data leak possible.
- Oct 16, 2018: First disclosure to Facebook
- Mar 20, 2019: Facebook awarded 10000 USD