Security Experts:

Facebook Flaw Allowed Removal of Any Photo

A researcher says he received a $10,000 bounty from Facebook after finding a critical vulnerability that could have been exploited to delete any photo from the social media network.

In early November, Facebook announced a new feature for posting polls that include images and GIF animations. Iran-based security researcher and web developer Pouya Darabi analyzed the feature shortly after its launch and discovered that it introduced an easy-to-exploit flaw.

When a user created a poll, the request sent to Facebook servers included the identifiers of the image files added to the poll. The expert noticed that users could replace the image ID in the request with the ID of any photo on Facebook and that photo would appear in the poll.

Darabi then discovered that once the creator of the poll deleted the post, the image whose ID was added to the request would also get removed from Facebook.

The vulnerability was reported to Facebook on November 3 and a temporary fix was rolled out the same day. The company deployed a complete patch on November 5.

Darabi said he received a $10,000 bug bounty for his findings. The researcher has published a blog post and a video describing the vulnerability.

This was not the first time Darabi earned a significant bounty from Facebook. Back in 2015, the social media giant awarded him $15,000 for bypassing its cross-site request forgery (CSRF) protection systems. The next year he received another $7,500 for a similar weakness.

These types of vulnerabilities are not uncommon on Facebook. In the past years, researchers reported finding several flaws that could have been exploited to delete comments, videos, and photos from Facebook. The security holes, which in most cases involved replacing the ID of the targeted resource in a request, earned researchers roughly $10,000.

Facebook has paid out millions of dollars to researchers who found vulnerabilities in the social media network since the launch of its bug bounty program in 2011.

Related: Facebook Awards $100,000 Prize for Spear-Phishing Detection Method

Related: Facebook, Researcher Quarrel Over Instagram Hack

Related: Facebook Awards $40,000 Bounty for ImageTragick Hack

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.