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Facebook Honors Manipur Youth Engineer for Detecting Whatsapp Bug

The bug therefore allowed people to infringe on the privacy of users. Sougaijam's discovery helped Facebook fix a big security lapse

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whatsapp bug
Facebook has honoured a 22-year-old engineer from Manipur for detecting a bug on the instant messaging platform WhatsApp. VOA

Facebook has honoured a 22-year-old engineer from Manipur for detecting a bug on the instant messaging platform WhatsApp. The social networking giant awarded Zonel Sougaijam $5000 (roughly about Rs. 3.4 lakh) for the discovery and also included him in the “Facebook Hall of Fame 2019” that has so far included 96 people for “making a responsible disclosure” to Facebook.

Sougaijam discovered that during a voice call on the instant messaging platform, the bug allowed the receiver to upgrade it to a video call without the knowledge of the individual making the voice call. The bug therefore allowed people to infringe on the privacy of users. Sougaijam’s discovery helped Facebook fix a big security lapse.

WhatsApp bug
Ananthakrishna detected the bug that enabled other people to completely remove files on WhatsApp without knowledge of the user. Pixabay

“In fact during a WhatsApp’s video call say the other person turns his or her camera off for a reason and the video call gets paused, you can resume it without the other person even touching his or her smartphone,” Sougaijam wrote in a blog post.

“I came to know it was a serious bug and I reported right away to Facebook through the Facebook’s bug bounty programme where you can report bugs which poses security threat to Facebook related products.

“After few days of chatting about the bug and I also made a short video in which I explained to them how the bug is behaving. They told me that the bug was confirmed and they are working for a fix,” Sougaijam, who is a Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) in Civil Engineering, added. And about two weeks later, Facebook informed Sougaijam that the bug has been fixed.

whatsapp bug
The bug therefore allowed people to infringe on the privacy of users. Sougaijam’s discovery helped Facebook fix a big security lapse. Pixabay

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“So, I checked myself and the bug got fixed,” he added. “The bounty amount is decided by the degree of severeness the bug possess, quality of the report and many other factors. The minimum amount which a person can get if his or her bug is identified as security threat is $500 which is roughly Rs 34,000,” Sougaijam informed.

Sougaijam is, however, not the only Indian who has made in to the Facebook Hall of Fame 2019. Rony K Roy and K.S. Ananthakrishna from Kerala are some of the other young Indians who have made it to the list. Ananthakrishna detected the bug that enabled other people to completely remove files on WhatsApp without knowledge of the user. (IANS)

Next Story

Facebook Faces Trial Over Data Breach Affecting Nearly 30 Million Users

Facebook expects the fine to be in the range of $3-5 billion and has kept aside $3 billion in legal expenses related to the investigation

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FILE - The Facebook logo is seen on a shop window in Malaga, Spain, June 4, 2018. (VOA)

In a setback, a US court has rejected Facebook’s claims to block a lawsuit against it in a data breach that affected nearly 30 million users in September last year.

According to a report in Seeking Alpha on Monday, US District Judge William Alsup in San Francisco dismissed Facebook’s request, saying claims that Facebook was negligent and failed to secure users’ data as promised can go forward, and discovery should move “with alacrity” toward trial.

In September, Facebook admitted that unknown hackers exploited three bugs to steal the personal details of 50 million users — later adjusted to 30 million.

Turkey’s Personal Data Protection Authority has already fined Facebook 1.65 million Turkish liras ($280,000) over data breach. Nearly 300,000 users in Turkey may have been affected by the data breach.

According to the Turkish watchdog, Facebook failed to timely intervene to take proper technical and administrative measures during the 12-day existence of the bug last September.

facebook
FILE – The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York’s Times Square, March 29, 2018. VOA

According to a statement from Facebook in December, the company had discovered a photo API bug that allowed third-party applications to access the photos of Facebook users.

At the time, Facebook said that the bug “might have exposed the non-public photos of 6.8 million users to around 1,500 apps built by 876 developers”.

In March this year, Facebook disclosed yet another security incident, admitting to storing hundreds of millions of users’ passwords in plaintext, along with plaintext passwords for millions of Instagram accounts.

Also Read: Samsung Launches 3 Galaxy Wearables in India

Facebook is facing a hefty fine from the US Federal Trade Commission over data privacy scandals

Facebook expects the fine to be in the range of $3-5 billion and has kept aside $3 billion in legal expenses related to the investigation. (IANS)