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Facebook exposes ‘god mode’ token miscreants could use • The Register

Updated Brave this week said it is blocking the installation of a popular Chrome extension called L.O.C. because it exposes users’ Facebook data to potential theft.

“If a user is already logged into Facebook, installing this extension will automatically grant a third-party server access to some of the user’s Facebook data,” explained Francois Marier, a security engineer at Brave, in a GitHub Issues post. “The API used by the extension does not cause Facebook to show a permission prompt to the user before the application’s access token is issued.”

However, the developer of the extension, Loc Mai, told The Register that his extension is not harvesting information – as the extension’s privacy policy states. The extension currently has around 700,000 users.

“The extension does not collect the user’s data unless the user becomes a Premium user, and the only thing it collects is UID – which is unique to each person,” explained Mai.

Mai said the extension stores the token locally, under localStorage.touch. That presents a security risk but isn’t indicative of wrongdoing. L.O.C. continues to be available through the Chrome Web Store.

However, a malicious developer could harvest Facebook data using the same access method, because Facebook is exposing a plain-text token that grants what security researcher Zach Edwards describes as “god mode.”

God mode

In an email to The Register, Mai explained that Facebook’s Graph API requires a user’s access token to function. To obtain that token – so users of the extension can automate the processing of their own Facebook data, like downloading their messages – the extension sends a GET request to Creator Studio for Facebook. The request returns an access token to the extension for the logged-in Facebook user, allowing further programmatic interactions with Facebook data.

Mai elaborated on this in response to Brave’s GitHub post. “The access token is within the HTML of that page. Any Facebook user can really just go to view-source: and view the access token in there.”

Edwards told The Register, “Facebook faced nearly an identical scandal in 2018 when 50 million Facebook accounts were scraped due to a token exposure.” And yet Facebook appears to consider this data dispensing token to be a feature, not a bug.

Mai provided The Register with a copy of the April 9, 2019 email he used to report a token disclosure issue at a different endpoint that enabled the same sort of data access. The response from Facebook security was, “In this case, the issue you’ve described is actually just intended functionality and therefore doesn’t qualify for a bounty.”

“Facebook seems to have not learned their lesson from 2018 and is still exposing a plain text god mode token for every user, on a niche page that specific developers know about,” said Edwards. “Facebook calls this a feature, but when the first extension developer scrapes and steals data from countless pages and users, will that be when Facebook finally admits it’s a bug just like the 2018 problems?”

The Register asked Facebook about the situation and about whether, as Edwards suggests, the company intends to revoke all the tokens obtained from its Creator Studio endpoint. We’ve not heard back.

Mai said he made the extension to help friends who were thinking of quitting Facebook. The L.O.C. extension, which has more than 700,000 users, lets people download their Facebook conversations, change their post privacy settings, find and remove friends, and other functions.

Mai said he has been banned from Facebook and added the company has contacted him to accuse him of transferring or sharing user data without consent – “I have never done this” – and of buying, selling, or exchanging site privileges such as likes, shares, and other aspects of engagement tracked by Facebook and Instagram – which he also denied.

However, he said, he’d consider removing his extension “if Facebook was more reasonable with my Facebook account and Instagram account and if they provided me with better reasons why my extension is harmful for others.”

The Register asked Brave whether it intends to reconsider its ban of L.O.C. based on Mai’s explanation of what’s going on. A Brave spokesperson said, “We’re working with the extension author on some changes to the extension so that it can be unblocked in Brave.”.

Improper extensions still an issue

Edwards said Facebook’s Terms of Service falls short here because while the company insists people use its app platform, it doesn’t prevent people from using browser extensions.

And this gap that exposes user data is compounded by the way Chrome extensions currently work. As Edwards describes it, Chrome extensions can request permissions on one domain you control and on another you don’t, and then open a browser tab upon installation that creates an opportunity to scrape API tokens and session IDs for various different types of apps.

“Facebook just happens to have a legacy web permission hardcoded into a page on their ‘creator studio’ they built, which makes it possible for someone who controls one of these extensions to scrape hundreds of thousands of Facebook tokens, without ever signing up for the Facebook developer program and using the correct/native Facebook app/dev sharing features,” explained Edwards.

“Basically, Facebook can’t ‘ban’ an extension, even if Facebook knows the extension should not be allowed to request permissions on and their own team thinks it’s malicious,” he added.

“And currently, Google doesn’t want to acknowledge that the [Chrome App Store] is overrun with developers requesting permissions on two domains, one they control and one they don’t. This is the practice that just needs to stop as fast as possible or be acknowledged publicly by Google so they can explain any future fixes to prevent these problems.”

Edwards said between the broad scope of Chrome extension permissions and the bewildering decision by Facebook to keep this “god mode” token embedded on a page for years after being altered to the problem, it’s a perfect storm for data theft. ®

Updated to add

After this story was published, a Meta spokesperson emailed to say, “We’re looking into these claims and will take action as appropriate to uphold our policies and protect people’s information.”

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Global Affairs

Open Source Software (OSS) Supply Chain, Security Risks And Countermeasures

OSS Security Risks And Countermeasures

The software development landscape increasingly hinges on open source components, significantly aiding continuous integration, DevOps practices, and daily updates. Last year, Synopsys discovered that 97% of codebases in 2022 incorporated open source, with specific sectors like computer hardware, cybersecurity, energy, and the Internet of Things (IoT) reaching 100% OSS integration.

While leveraging open source enhances efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and developer productivity, it inadvertently paves a path for threat actors seeking to exploit the software supply chain. Enterprises often lack visibility into their software contents due to complex involvement from multiple sources, raising concerns highlighted in VMware’s report last year. Issues include reliance on communities to patch vulnerabilities and associated security risks.

Raza Qadri, founder of Vibertron Technologies, emphasizes OSS’s pivotal role in critical infrastructure but underscores the shock experienced by developers and executives regarding their applications’ OSS contribution. Notably, Qadri cites that 95% of vulnerabilities surface in “transitive main dependencies,” indirectly added open source packages.

Qadri also acknowledges developers’ long-standing use of open source. However, recent years have witnessed heightened awareness, not just among developers but also among attackers. Malware attacks targeting the software supply chain have surged, as demonstrated in significant breaches like SolarWinds, Kaseya, and the Log4j exploit.

Log4j’s widespread use exemplifies the consolidation of risk linked to extensively employed components. This popular Java-based logging tool’s vulnerabilities showcase the systemic dependency on widely used software components, posing significant threats if exploited by attackers.

Moreover, injection of malware into repositories like GitHub, PyPI, and NPM has emerged as a growing threat. Cybercriminals generate malicious versions of popular code to deceive developers, exploiting vulnerabilities when components are downloaded, often without the developers’ knowledge.

Despite OSS’s security risks, its transparency and visibility compared to commercial software offer certain advantages. Qadri points out the swift response to Log4j vulnerabilities as an example, highlighting OSS’s collaborative nature.

Efforts to fortify software supply chain security are underway, buoyed by multi-vendor frameworks, vulnerability tracking tools, and cybersecurity products. However, additional steps, such as enforcing recalls for defective OSS components and implementing component-level firewalls akin to packet-level firewalls, are necessary to fortify defenses and mitigate malicious attacks.

Qadri underscores the need for a holistic approach involving software bills of materials (SBOMs) coupled with firewall-like capabilities to ensure a comprehensive understanding of software contents and preemptive measures against malicious threats.

As the software supply chain faces ongoing vulnerabilities and attacks, concerted efforts are imperative to bolster security measures, safeguard against threats, and fortify the foundational aspects of open source components.

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By John Elf | Science, Technology & Business contributor Digital

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Choco: Revolutionizing The FoodTech Industry With Innovation & Sustainability | EU20

By Clint Bailey

— In the rapidly evolving world of food technology, European startup Choco has emerged as a pioneering force. With its website,, this Berlin-based company is transforming the way food industry professionals operate by leveraging innovative digital solutions. By linking restaurants, distributors, suppliers, and producers on a single platform, Choco is streamlining the supply chain process while promoting sustainability.

Let’s explore the journey of and its impact on the overall foodtech industry.

  1. Company: Choco Technologies GmbH
  2. Website:
  3. Head Office: Berlin, Germany
  4. Year Established: 2018
  5. Founders: Choco was co-founded by Daniel Khachab, Julian Hammer, and Rogerio da Silva.
  6. Industry: Choco operates in the foodtech industry, specifically focusing on digitizing the supply chain for the food industry.
  7. Funding: Choco has secured significant funding rounds from investors, including Bessemer Venture Partners & Coatue Management.
  8. Market Presence: Choco has a strong presence in several European cities, including Berlin, Paris, London & Barcelona.
  9. Mission: Choco aims to revolutionize the food industry by leveraging technology to simplify supply chain management, promote sustainability, and reduce food waste.

Simplifying Supply Chain Management

One of the core focuses of Choco is to simplify supply chain management for food businesses. Traditionally, the procurement process in the food industry has been cumbersome and inefficient, with numerous intermediaries and manual processes. Choco’s digital platform replaces the traditional paper-based ordering system, allowing restaurants and suppliers to communicate and collaborate seamlessly.

Choco’s platform enables restaurants to place orders directly with suppliers, eliminating the need for phone calls, faxes, or emails. This not only saves time but also reduces the likelihood of errors and miscommunications.

By digitizing the ordering process, Choco improves transparency, making it easier for restaurants to compare prices, track deliveries, and manage inventory efficiently.

Streamlining Operations For Suppliers & Producers

Choco’s impact extends beyond restaurants. The platform also provides suppliers and producers with valuable tools to streamline their operations. By digitizing their product catalogs and integrating them into the Choco platform, suppliers can showcase their offerings to a wide network of potential buyers.

Suppliers benefit from increased visibility, enabling them to reach new customers and expand their market presence. Moreover, Choco’s platform helps suppliers manage their inventory, track orders, and plan deliveries effectively. These features enhance operational efficiency, reduce waste, and ultimately contribute to a more sustainable food system.
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Promoting Sustainability & Reducing Food Waste

Choco recognizes the critical importance of sustainability in the food industry. According to the United Nations, approximately one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year. By digitizing the supply chain and enabling more efficient ordering and inventory management, Choco actively works to combat this issue.

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Choco’s platform facilitates data-driven decision-making for restaurants, suppliers, and producers. By analyzing purchasing patterns & demand, Choco helps businesses optimize their inventory levels, reducing overstocking and minimizing food waste. Additionally, Choco supports local sourcing, enabling businesses to connect with nearby suppliers & promote sustainable, community-based practices.

Expanding Reach & Impact

Since its founding in 2018, Choco has experienced rapid growth and expansion. The startup has successfully secured significant funding rounds, allowing it to scale its operations and establish a strong presence across Europe and other global markets. Today, Choco’s platform is used by thousands of restaurants and suppliers, revolutionizing the way they operate.

Choco’s impact extends beyond operational efficiency or sustainability. By connecting restaurants, suppliers & producers on a single platform, Choco fosters collaboration & encourages the exchange of ideas. This collaborative approach strengthens the overall foodtech ecosystem and creates a supportive community of like-minded aiming to drive positive change within the industry.

Future Of FoodTech

Choco’s rise to prominence in the foodtech industry exemplifies the reach of sustainability, innovation, and community. Through its user-friendly platform, Choco simplifies supply chain management, streamlines operations for restaurants & suppliers, and actively promotes sustainable practices. By harnessing the potential of digital, Choco is disrupting the future of the food industry, making it more efficient and transparent.

As Choco continues to expand its impact and reach, its transformative influence on the foodtech sector is set to inspiring, grow other startups, and established players to embrace technology for a better and more sustainable food system.

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— Compiled by Clint Bailey | Team ‘Voice of EU’
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The Implications Of Controlling High-Level Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

Artificial Super Intelligence (ASI)

By Clint Bailey | ‘Voice of EU’

The notion of artificial intelligence surpassing humanity has long been a topic of discussion, and recent advancements in programs have reignited concerns. But can we truly control super-intelligence? A closer examination by scientists reveals that the answer is highly unlikely.

Unraveling The Challenge:

Controlling a super-intelligence that surpasses human comprehension necessitates the ability to simulate and analyze its behavior. However, if we are unable to comprehend it, creating such a simulation becomes an impossible task. This lack of understanding hinders our ability to establish rules, such as “cause no harm to humans,” as we cannot anticipate the scenarios that an AI might generate.

The Complexity Of Super-Intelligence:

Super-intelligence presents a distinct challenge compared to conventional robot ethics. Its multifaceted nature allows it to mobilize diverse resources, potentially pursuing objectives that are incomprehensible and uncontrollable to humans. This fundamental disparity further complicates the task of governing and setting limits on super-intelligent systems.

Drawing Insights From The Halting Problem:

Alan Turing’s halting problem, introduced in 1936, provides insights into the limitations of predicting program outcomes. While we can determine halting behavior for specific programs, there is no universal method capable of evaluating every potential program ever written. In the realm of artificial super-intelligence, which could theoretically store all possible computer programs in its memory simultaneously, the challenge of containment intensifies.

The Uncontainable Dilemma:

When attempting to prevent super-intelligence from causing harm, the unpredictability of outcomes poses a significant challenge. Determining whether a program will reach a conclusion or continue indefinitely becomes mathematically impossible for all scenarios. This renders traditional containment algorithms unusable and raises concerns about the reliability of teaching AI ethics to prevent catastrophic consequences.

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The Limitation Conundrum:

An alternative approach suggested by some is to limit the capabilities of super-intelligence, such as restricting its access to certain parts of the internet or networks. However, this raises questions about the purpose of creating super-intelligence if its potential is artificially curtailed. The argument arises: if we do not intend to use it to tackle challenges beyond human capabilities, why create it in the first place?


Urgent Reflection – The Direction Of Artificial Intelligence:

As we push forward with artificial intelligence, we must confront the possibility of a super-intelligence beyond our control. Its incomprehensibility makes it difficult to discern its arrival, emphasizing the need for critical introspection regarding the path we are treading. Prominent figures in the tech industry, such as Elon Musk and Steve Wozniak, have even called for a pause in AI experiments to evaluate safety and potential risks to society.

The potential consequences of controlling high-level artificial super-intelligence are far-reaching and demand meticulous consideration. As we strive for progress, we must strike a balance between pushing the boundaries of technology and ensuring responsible development. Only through thorough exploration and understanding can we ensure that AI systems benefit humanity while effectively managing their risks.

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By Clint Bailey, Team ‘THE VOICE OF EU

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