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Facebook Timeline flaws a ‘misunderstanding’ — but privacy concerns abound

Dec 20, 20112 mins
Data and Information Security

F-Secure has looked into rumors that Facebook’s new Timeline feature has a security flaw. So far, no problems.

From the F-Secure lab blog:

Facebook has started rolling out its new Timeline profile and over the weekend, here in Finland, there were some reports that private messages are being posted to users’ profiles.

We have seen no solid evidence of this. And given that Facebook’s Finnish translation is far from perfect, the whole thing could just be a misunderstanding.

Here’s an example of one translation we read today… Timeline profiles now include a new type of story called “Life Events”. In the “Health & Wellness” category, there’s an option for “Got Contacts”. In Finnish, the word used is for contact info, rather than contact lenses.

So we’re still waiting to see just what type of “messages” are being posted.

Updated to add on Tuesday, December 20th:

As we suspected, the rumors of private “messages” being leaked by Timeline is based on misunderstanding of old Wall-to-Wall conversations. There are numerous layout changes made with the new Timeline profiles and those changes are sure to generate many questions. For non-hysterical, fact based answers, presented in a non-techgeek fashion, see our page on Facebook and Safe and Savvy blog.

Though F-Secure found that the troubles so far were a simple translation glitch, expect to hear more about reported problems as people try to get their arms around Facebook Timeline.

Kristin Burnham, my colleage over as CSO sister site, wrote earlier this week about how Facebook’s new Timeline has the potential to expose status updates and wall posts from years ago.

As a result, she suggested people update their privacy settings before they or Facebook publishes their Timeline.

Go to her article for instructions to lock down the privacy settings.

–Bill Brenner

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