Arul Kumar, a 21 year old Indian Electronics and Communications engineer hailing from Tamil Nadu, has been awarded bounty of $12,500 by Facebook for recognizing a bug within website which allowed users to delete an image or an interaction from other users without his or her concern.
The whole story started when Kumar, also a researcher, posted in his blog about a flaw within the Facebook Support Dashboard. According to the blog, it is easy to exploit the Facebook Support Dashboard and delete any picture from any user page, including verified ones. The blog also had a detailed structure of the bug. For more confirmation, Kumar even had made a video on the bug and send it to the Facebook security team.
About the flaw, it works well with any browser, but according to Kumar, it works better through mobile devices. Initially, the doer needs two profiles, one as the receiver and the other as a sender. Parameters used are Photo_iD and Owner Profile_iD. Once exploited, hackers can delete any photos from any user profile without the owner even knowing about it.
Interestingly, this event shares great similarities to that of Khalil’s, a security expert who couple of weeks before broke into Mark Zuckerberg’s profile. When Khalil came across multiple faults in Facebook, he tried to report the openness to Facebook Security Team, who instead of rewarding dismissed his bounty or even didn’t take it seriously. Impatient and desperate, Khalil hacked into Mark Zuckerberg’s wall and displayed the bug that gave the freedom to post on any Facebook user’s wall. Apart from hacking, Khalil also wrote a huge post explaining about the bug and his discontent against Facebook Security Support team for not taking his efforts seriously.
Soon after the whole event, Khalil’s profile was suspended and eventually he didn’t receive any bounties. According to Facebook, Khalil had broken the golden rule of ‘never to compromise a real-time user’s profile while displaying a bug’ and eventually was disregarded.
As Khalil, Kumar also faced some initial refusals from the Facebook team. But what made the difference was that Kumar detailed the whole bug in a comprehensive video and had sent it to the security team. He even exploited Zuckerberg’s Facebook photo, but did not delete it. This move certainly impressed Facebook as they have recognized the bug and decided to reward Kumar $12,500. The social networking giant also approved 3 Open Redirectors by Kumar, making him eligible for an extra bounty of $1,500.
The Delhi High Court Friday said that social networking site Facebook Inc and search engine Google Inc are bound by the rules of this country and cannot flout the law just because they are foreign companies.
A division bench of Acting Chief Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Vibhu Bakhru also directed the two companies to display on their websites the name and contact details of their grievance officers.
“We direct Google Inc and Facebook Inc to display the name of grievance officer on their respective sites. We also direct other intermediaries that the compliance (of the rules) be done in two weeks,” the court said.
It said the Information Technology (Intermediaries) Rules mandate that all social networking sites have to publish the name of grievance officer and their contact details.
“Just because you are a foreign company, you cannot flout the law. Like us, you are bound by the rule of law of this country,” said the court, also asking the central government to take steps to ensure that the social networking sites comply with the rules.
The bench also asked the central government to file its response on the allegations of petitioner that Delhi Police, Indian Railways and others have created accounts on social networking sites despite government departments being barred from doing so under the law.
The petitioner submitted that government departments like Delhi Police and the Indian Railways are not entitled to create accounts on social networking sites.
The court was hearing the PIL filed by former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader K.N. Govindacharya through his advocate Virag Gupta alleging that the websites have no mechanism for protection of children from online abuse.
The PIL has said that children below 18 years are entering an agreement with the social networking sites to open accounts which is against the Indian Majority Act, the Indian Contract Act and also the Information and Technology Act.
The plea has also sought recovery of taxes from the websites on their income from operations in India.
An imposter pretending to be the UB group scion is posting status messages about them among other things.
Sid’s team has approached Facebook and even asked them to shut down all impostor accounts, especially this one. According to the statement from Siddhartha’s spokesperson, “On behalf of Sid, would like to clarify that, there is no truth whatsoever to the matter of the so-called creation of UB Motion Pictures. This update has been posted on Facebook by an impostor who is posing as Sid and NOT by Sid himself. Hence would request everyone to completely disregard any updates on these fake accounts and only consider news that are issued from official sources.”
This is not a random case. A lot of celebrities are being impersonated on social networking sites. Recently model Sahil Shroff discovered that someone had hacked into his Facebook account and was fooling around with girls using his name. Actress Amrita Rao wanted her identity to be undisputed on a popular micro-blogging site. And to this effect, the actress had filed five impersonation complaints recently. “In fact two accounts that were impersonating me have already been deleted by the authorities recently, and three others are under close scrutiny,” she had shared.
Actor Hurman S Baweja was in shock when an unknown person created a fake account in his name on a networking website and sent random requests to several girls.
Actress Shruti Haasan was taken aback to find out that there are more than 20 Facebook accounts all posing to be Shruti. However, the actress has no Facebook account and only interacts with her fans through Twitter.
Researchers led by Dr Hanna Krasnova of the Humboldt-Universitat zu Berlin surveyed Facebook members regarding their feelings after using the platform.
Krasnova, explained that, “Although respondents were reluctant to admit feeling envious while on Facebook, they often presumed that envy can be the cause behind the frustration of ‘others’ on this platform – a clear indication that envy is a salient phenomenon in the Facebook context”.
“Indeed, access to copious positive news and the profiles of seemingly successful ‘friends’ fosters social comparison that can readily provoke envy. By and large, on-line social networks allow users unprecedented access to information on relevant others — insights that would be much more difficult to obtain offline,” Krasnova said in a statement.
Those who do not engage in any active, interpersonal communications on social networks and primarily utilise them as sources of information, eg reading friends’ postings, checking news feeds, or browsing through photos, are particularly subject to these painful experiences.
The study also found that about one-fifth of all recent on-line/offline events that had provoked envy among the respondents took place within a Facebook context. This reveals a colossal role of this platform in users’ emotional life.
Paradoxically, envy can frequently lead to users embellishing their Facebook profiles, which, in turn, provokes envy among other users, a phenomenon that the researchers have termed “envy spiral”.
The researchers were also able to establish a negative link between the envy that arises while on Facebook and users’ general life satisfaction. Indeed, passive use of Facebook heightens invidious emotions that, in turn, adversely affect users’ satisfaction with their lives.
“Considering the fact that Facebook use is a worldwide phenomenon and envy is a universal feeling, a lot of people are subject to these painful consequences,” study co-author Helena Wenninger of the TU-Darmstadt said.
- How Facebook and Twitter can boost your ego and make you more impulsive in just five minutes (ktrmurali.wordpress.com)
- Policy-makers need to consider the impacts, warn researchers
- Inability to concentrate found to be one of the effects
- Browsing social networks for just five minutes can cause loss of control
Facebook and other social network sites can cause users to lose control and may lead to violence, obesity and debt.
Browsing for just five minutes on social networks can boost user’s self-belief so much that they become more impulsive.
Effects can include an increase in binge-eating, loss of concentration and lack of application, a study showed.
Researchers are also concerned that the loss of control prompted by using Facebook could lead to social problems such as aggression and violence.
‘Given that self-control is important for maintaining social order and personal well-being, this subtle effect could have widespread impact,’ the study from the US warned.
‘This is particularly true for adolescents and young adults who are the heaviest users of social networks and have grown up using social networks as a normal part of their daily lives.’
Dr Andrew Stephen, of the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr Keith Wilcox of Columbia University in New York, carried out the study with more than 1,000 Facebook users and said it was the first time it has been demonstrated that facebook and other social networking sites lead to loss of control.
They urged policy-makers to investigate social network use to better understand how people behave after using Facebook and other sites.
‘We have demonstrated that using today’s most popular social network, Facebook, may have a detrimental effect on people’s self-control,’ said Dr Stephen.
The researchers found that the key to behavioral changes after using social networking sites is the way they boost a user’s feeling of self-worth.
For people who send and receive posts from a number of friends with whom they have ‘strong ties’ even using a site for a short period of time was observed to increase self-esteem.
This is thought to happen because the social conventions that prevent boasting in face to face meetings are weakened when posting online, the researchers argued.
Users are also likely to focus on presenting positive images of themselves which are reinforced by supportive responses.
Having had their self-esteem boosted, the study showed, the self-control of users was weakened and resulted in different types of behaviour.
Volunteers taking part in one test were instructed to either spend a few minutes browsing social network sites or to look through CNN.com and TMZ.com.
Participants were then asked to choose between a healthy snack or a chocolate chip cookie and it was found that those using social network sites were more likely to opt for the unhealthy option.
‘Social network use enhanced self-esteem, making them more likely to make an unhealthy food choice compared to those who did not browse Facebook,’ the academics reported in a paper – Are Close Friends the Enemy? Online Social Networks, Self-Esteem, and Self-Control – published online in the Journal of Consumer Research.
A similar test in which volunteers were asked to solve anagrams after going online showed that the Facebook users were more likely to lose concentration and give up on the puzzles.
Researchers also asked volunteers a series of questions to establish their Body Mass Index (BMI), how many credit cards they had and what their levels of debt were.
‘The results suggest that greater social network use is associated with a higher body-mass index, increased binge eating, a lower credit score, and higher levels of credit-card debt for individuals with strong ties to their social network,’ the researchers found.
‘This research advances our knowledge of social networks by demonstrating that social networks can have significant effects on consumer judgment and decision-making, even in tasks that are unrelated to social network use or more general social behavior.’
They added: ‘Our research demonstrates that social network use may also have a detrimental effect on well-being by leading certain people to exhibit lower self-control.
‘It would be worthwhile for researchers and policy makers to further explore social network use in order to better understand which consumers may be particularly vulnerable to suffering negative psychological or social consequences.’
Here are 10 tips for you to share with your youngsters, to help make sure they’re clued up about .
1. Lock down your Facebook page. Make sure your profile is only shown to your friends – not their friends too and certainly not the whole world! It’s good to check your privacy settings regularly, too, because Facebook often updates them.
2. If you don’t know someone on Facebook, don’t be tempted to accept their Friend request.
3. Don’t post anything anywhere on the internet if you don’t want the world to see it. Once you’ve uploaded something, you cannot be sure that it will stay with just the person you’ve sent it to. So if it’s private, don’t share it!
4. Never give out your address, unless your parents have said it’s safe and it’s absolutely necessary (eg. when you are requesting a delivery). And never agree to meet in person someone you’ve met online.
5. Make sure you password protect your phone or any other device you use. And lock it when you’re not using it.
6. Don’t click on suspicious-looking links. If something looks strange to you, ask a parent or teacher if it’s ok to click on it.
7. If your friend has sent you a message but it looks weird, or isn’t something they’d usually say, check with them before you open it. It could be that someone is using their account to send messages which could be infected with something nasty.
8. Always log out! Make sure you don’t leave any account open when you go away from your computer, phone or other device.
9. Follow these password rules:
- Never choose passwords which are real words you’d find in the dictionary. Use a mixture of upper and lower case letters, swap out letters for numbers, and use symbols like % and $ too.
- Make your password as long as possible. The longer it is, the harder it is to crack.
- Be creative! Never just use the name of your favourite sports team or band, or your pet’s name. They are too easy to guess, especially if you’re previously shared that information online.
- Use a different password for each website you use. If you struggle to remember them, you can use online ‘password management‘ software to save them for you. But remember to make your ‘master’ password VERY hard to crack!
- Don’t save your password to your computer if you share it with anyone. And never give anyone your password. Not even your best friend. It’s not silly to keep your password to yourself, it’s safe!
10. And finally, if it doesn’t look right, speak up! If you think something is suspicious or if you see something upsetting online, tell a parent or teacher, or report it to the website you’re trying to use.