Security Corner

Feb 10 2013   5:29PM GMT

Flickr bug compromises privacy

Ken Harthun Ken Harthun Profile: Ken Harthun

If you use Flickr and you had any private photos posted there, well, the world may now know what you didn’t intend to share. Just got this notice from them yesterday:

Dear Ken Harthun,

I’m writing to let you know about a recent issue with Flickr’s privacy settings that impacted some of the photos in your account.

While performing routine site maintenance, we identified a software bug that may have changed the view setting on some of your photos from non-public (i.e., private or viewable only by family and friends) to public. Affected photos were visible on Flickr between January 18th and February 7th, 2013. The affected photos were barred from appearing in any search results and they were limited to photos you’ve uploaded between April and December of 2012. Overall, this issue impacted only a small percentage of photos.

I have nothing to worry about, but I’m sure there were some people affected by this. I can imagine some very embarrassed people who were questioned by their parents or friends about certain photos they posted.

It’s not just hackers and those with malicious intent that you need to worry about. In this case, it was a software bug. Not malicious, but it was, potentially, equally as damaging. Once again, I stress that you should never post anything anywhere on the web that you wouldn’t want the world to see. The web is about as secure as a bank vault using a piece of spaghetti to lock it.

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