Did Facebook actually get hacked?
At some point in time, Facebook, like many large companies, stopped listening to those telling them that their site was not as secure as it should be. Last Thursday at 7pm GMT, Khalil Shreateh, a disgruntled Facebook user who had tried many times to inform the company of the security issue, 'hacked into' and posted on Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook account.
But did he really 'hack' Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook account in the way the we have come to understand the word 'hack'? Or did he just expose a bug? When we hear the word 'hacked', does it imply that credentials were stolen, or some other nefarious consequence?
We here at Linedot think that the word 'hack' has come to be misleading. In its history, 'hacking' has always been a process or altering technology for your own means but recently the word has evolved. The stereotypical 'hacker' is no longer a hippie, an eccentric turning a bike motor into a toaster for his Sunday picnic. The image of the hacker has become much more sinister.
With the proliferation of malware (another term that confuses many) I firmly believe that 'hacking' has come to mean a malicious attempt to bypass security and access confidential data. It's simply logical that there is a reason behind a hack, and therefore 'hacking' must be understood, as it is in the common vernacular, to have direct implications.
So what did the mainstream media mean when they said Facebook had been 'hacked'? Well they meant a bug was exposed - a bug that allowed a user to post on another person's wall without permission. Could this be dangerous? Absolutely. Was its exposure malicious? Absolutely not. Facebook wasn't hacked in the conventional sense. A bug was found and reported, in an altogether unusual and desperate manner. There's your story.
Why did such a capable person have to go about reporting the bug in such a manner? Should Facebook be more open to such reports?
By reporting the incident as a 'hack', I feel the mainstream media missed the point. The point is surely that to make the big boys listen, you are going to have to shout pretty loud. And an unconventional method might be the best way of separating your voice from the crowd.
The fact that Facebook withheld his reward is evidence enough that they don't agree with the principle, at least not when they are losing face because of it. Yet if you want something sorted quickly and you don't act maliciously, what's wrong with a little attention grabbing?
Author: Paul Rostron, Webmaster