Facebook e-mail notifications breach privacy

Summary:Shortly after joining the social networking site Facebook, I received an e-mail telling me a friend had "written on my wall". Within two clicks I was logged-in and had full access to her account.

Shortly after joining the social networking site Facebook, I received an e-mail telling me a friend had "written on my wall". Within two clicks I was logged-in and had full access to her account.

At first I was very confused -- I had only used the site for a day or two and thought I may have done something wrong but when I managed to change her status message to "is being hacked", I knew something was wrong.

I logged out (of her account) and then tried clicking on the link again to try and recreate the effect but it didn't work. However, when I opened the main Facebook page and typed the first letter of my friend's name, the browser had somehow remembered her username and password and allowed me to log into her account at will.

As my friend works in the same building as me, the first thing I did was ask if she has ever used my computer but she said she had not.

She was, however, shocked and concerned that I could change her status message and potentially manipulate her information -- simply by leaving me a message.

My computer is a month old HP Compaq desktop running Windows XP with all the latest patches. The incident I described happened while using Firefox 2.0.0.3 when I was not logged into the Facebook site. I tried to recreate it in IE7 but could not.

As Facebook doesn't list a contact phone number, I haven't been able to get in touch with them yet. However, I will be sending them a copy of this blog as soon as it is published -- in the hope of finding out what is going on.

Has anyone experienced something similar? Anyone know what is going on?

Topics: Security, Social Enterprise

About

Munir first became involved with online publishing in 1998 when he joined ZDNet UK and later moved into print publishing as Chief Reporter for IT Week, part of ZDNet UK, a weekly trade newspaper targeted at Enterprise IT managers. He later moved back into online publishing as Senior News Reporter for ZDNet UK.Munir was recognised as Austr... Full Bio

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