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Twitter, Facebook and Venmo SMS Vulnerability Publically Disclosed

These days, who doesn't have a Twitter or a Facebook account either for themselves, their businesses, or other groups?  Many of us access these social networking sites via our cell phones and other mobile devices, but doing so may be causing us more danger than we are aware of.  According to an article by Shawn Night, Facebook, Twitter, and Venmo accounts are subject to new vulnerabilities:

The problem is that the originating address of a SMS cannot be trusted, just like with email.  This means an attacker can spoof the source number sent to Twitter granted you haven’t set a PIN code first.  All of the Twitter SMS commands can be used by a third party such as posting tweets and even modifying profile information.  The vulnerability isn't limited to a particular service provider, either.

These issues are also not easily fixed.  While Venmo resolved the problem within a day, Facebook took over three months to fix things.  It looks as if Twitter may, unfortunately, follow the same timeline as Facebook.  Twitter had asked the group who had found this information not to disclose it until Twitter had the time to fix the problem.  However, the issue has become public information with no further word from Twitter.

The moral of this story is to protect your social networking information as much as possible.  We have seen that hackers can navigate passwords and usernames with ease, so always remember to add PINs when  you can.  Also, if possible, try to attach as little vital personal information to your accounts as is permissible.  Make sure your connection is secure and not open to prying eyes.  Preparing yourself for potential scams may be the best way to prevent them.

About Anne Grybowski

Anne is a former staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success, with a degree in Media Studies from Penn State University.

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