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Security Response

New XSS Facebook Worm Allows Automatic Wall Posts

Created: 29 Mar 2011 15:23:35 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:21:54 GMT • Translations available: 日本語
Candid Wueest's picture
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Currently a new and unpatched cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in Facebook is being widely used to automatically post messages to other user’s walls. The vulnerability was used for some time in some smaller cases; however, it is now widely being used for the first time by many different groups—especially in Indonesia, where we are seeing thousands of infected messages being posted by unknowing users.

The vulnerability exists in the mobile API version of Facebook due to insufficient JavaScript filtering. It allows any website to include, for example, a maliciously prepared iframe element that contains JavaScript or use the http-equiv attribute’s “refresh” value to redirect the browser to the prepared URL containing the JavaScript. Any user who is logged into Facebook and visits a site that contains such an element will automatically post an arbitrary message to his or her wall. There is no other user interaction required, and there are no tricks involved, like clickjacking. Just visiting an infected website is enough to post a message that the attacker has chosen. Therefore it should be of no surprise that some of those messages are spreading very fast through Facebook. Some are posting links to infected websites, creating XSS worms that spread from user to user.

Unfortunately since the attack is very easy to recreate we have already started seeing a few dozen copy cats starting new attack waves with different messages.

We informed Facebook’s security team and they are working on a fix for this issue.

This attack works if you have enabled the SSL option in Facebook or not. Therefore it might be a good idea to currently log out of Facebook while you are not using it, or use security tools to protect or block you from going to infected sites. For example, the NoScript extension for the Firefox browser is able to detect this XSS worm attack.

UPDATE (March 29, 2011): Facebook has informed us that they have patched this XSS vulnerability. In addition, they are currently working on steps to remediate damage caused by the attack.