A researcher has earned a significant bug bounty after finding a severe vulnerability in Facebook’s Rights Manager copyright management tool.
Rights Manager is designed to allow publishers to protect their content by helping them identify videos posted on Facebook without permission. Publishers who complete an approval process can rely on the tool to specify permitted use rules, report content, and whitelist pages and profiles.
The tool was released earlier this year in response to an increase in freebooting, the act of downloading copyrighted videos from one platform (e.g. YouTube) and uploading them to a different platform (e.g. Facebook) without the copyright holder’s permission.
India-based bug bounty hunter Laxman Muthiyah discovered a serious flaw in Rights Manager that could have been exploited to access and change settings in any copyright holder’s account.
The expert noticed that Rights Manager uses the Graph API, which provides the primary method for apps to read and write data on Facebook. The tool’s user interface relies on a Facebook-developed app whose source code contained an access token.
Muthiyah determined that this access token could have been leveraged via the Graph API to perform various actions, including access and delete videos, and modify and delete copyright rules.
Facebook quickly patched the vulnerability and awarded Muthiyah $4,000 for responsibly disclosing the issue.
This is not the first time the researcher has found serious flaws in Facebook. Last year, he earned $12,500 for a Graph API bug that could have been exploited to delete users’ photos, and $10,000 for a syncing issue that allowed access to private photographs.