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MetaIntell Uncovers Significant Vulnerability With Popular Facebook SDK Affecting Numerous iOS and Android Apps and Potentially Billions of Installations

MetaIntell, the leader in intelligent led Mobile Risk Management (MRM), announced today that it has uncovered a significant security vulnerability in the Facebook SDK (V3.15.0) for both iOS and Android. Dubbed Social Login Session Hijacking, when exploited this vulnerability allows an attacker access to a user’s Facebook account using a session hijacking method that leverages the Facebook Access Token (FAT).

The vulnerability was discovered by MetaIntell using its cloud-based AppInterrogator™ MRM platform and verified by the company’s security research team. AppInterrogator rapidly deconstructs mobile apps to intelligently identify risks and threats using dynamic data generated from Open Source Intelligence (OSINT), vulnerability, static and dynamic assessments. It is the only solution that identifies risks before and after app download and assigns a risk rating to offer users progressive protection. Through progressive, ongoing risk assessments, apps are evaluated for changes in risk posture.

The Facebook SDK is one of the most popular integrated libraries used by free and fee-based app developers for iOS and Android platforms. Specifically, MetaIntell has identified that 71 of the top 100 free iOS apps use the Facebook SDK and are vulnerable, impacting the over 1.2 billion downloads of these apps. Of the top 100 Android apps, 31 utilize the Facebook SDK and therefore make vulnerable the over 100 billion downloads of those apps.

Vulnerable iOS and Android apps build on the Facebook SDK and leverage Facebook for user authentication. Once the app has successfully authenticated to Facebook, a local session token is cached and used to authenticate future sessions. The insecure storage of this session token is what places apps using the Facebook SDK for user authentication at risk of session hijacking.

Chilik Tamir, chief architect, research and development for MetaIntell, identified and duly named this flaw in both the Facebook SDK for iOS and Facebook SDK for Android. “It’s difficult to quantify the pervasiveness of this problem as not all iOS and Android apps utilize the Facebook SDK,” stated Tamir. “However, from our analysis, the SDK is widely used and given the type vulnerability, represents a substantial threat as it opens the door to imparting substantial damage to the reputations and brands of both individuals and organizations.”

MetaIntell discovered the vulnerability in May 2014 and Tamir and his team conducted further research to confirm it and evaluate the pervasiveness of the problem. The vulnerability along with MetaIntell’s research findings was reported to Facebook within two weeks of its initial discovery.

To mitigate the risk of the Social Login Session Hijacking vulnerability at this time, MetaIntell recommends iOS and Android device users discontinue use of the Facebook login by third party apps. MetaIntell’s blog details the steps that can be taken to disallow apps from using their Facebook login. We recommend IT staff alert their company employees about this vulnerability and advise them to discontinue using the Facebook login for apps. This YouTube video depicts the exploitation on an iPhone

“Our risk assessment engine was built from the ground up to utilize multivariate analysis to identify mobile app risks,” said Kevin Mullenex, CEO for MetaIntell. “Given our unique approach we often identify risks that are undetected by others….until after a security breach has occurred. We believe in being proactive and identifying the plethora of new risks before users download them and using progressive assessment to ensure apps remain safe.”

About MetaIntell

MetaIntell is the market and technology leader in intelligence led Mobile Risk Management (MRM). The company offers a cloud-based service that performs a detailed analysis on 3 key vectors: context, intent and predictive behavior. The cross referential analysis includes Deep Code Analysis, Behavioral Monitoring, Vulnerability Assessment, Broad Threat Engines, OSINT, Reputation History & Site Intelligence, and App Distribution Footprint. Data is correlated with gathered intelligence to declare an app is In or Out™ before it poses a threat to an enterprise application repository.

For more information about MetaIntell and its solutions, please visit our website at

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