Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Facebook Is Under Attack (But I Didn't Notice)

Unwary Facebook users are finding themselves under attack from unscrupulous spammers hell-bent on spread pornographic and violent images across the world's biggest social media network.

Well, attack isn't exactly the right word. It's really more akin to someone leaving a flaming paper bag full of dog poo on your front door step: If you're dumb enough to stomp on it you get what you deserve.

What's happening is what has been happening on Facebook for years. Hackers are getting into user accounts and sending out links to violent images, pornographic videos and the like. Other users see their friend has shared something, and click on it.

You know what I mean. The stuff that says "Hey look at this video I just found of you!" or "Wow! Is that really you in this picture?"

This hardly amounts to an attack in my opinion. Seems more like a bunch of bored computer nerds got it in their head to have some fun with Facebook devotees and started spreading malicious links. The hacker group Anonymous had said it would "bring down Facebook" on November 5, but that attack never came. If the group had unanimously decided to attack then Facebook might indeed have been brought down, at least temporarily.

What is clearly apparent is the lack of tech savvy of many Facebook users, especially given the way these spam attacks are spreading: weak passwords. Clearly many Facebook users do not take adequate precautions when it comes to account security. The same way people once did little to protect their email passwords resulting in numerous spam attacks via email.

If you are really concerned about protecting your Facebook stream from spam attacks do your part and enhance your own security. That means no "1234ABC" passwords, and don't click links that look suspicious.

Easy enough, right?

Graham Cluley, a consultant with Web security firm Sophos, said Tuesday that "explicit and violent" images had been flooding the News Feeds of Facebook users for the past 24 hours or so.

Cluley wrote on the Sophos blog that the images have included hardcore porn; photoshopped images of celebrities, including teen pop star Justin Bieber, in sexual positions; "extreme violence;" and at least one image of an abused dog.

The researcher said it wasn't clear Tuesday how the images were spreading.

One possibility: "Clickjacking," when clicking on a friend's image shares it in your own feed.

Hackers also may have compromised the accounts of users with weak passwords or tricked people into installing malicious code.

"What's clear," Cluley wrote, "is that mischief-makers are upsetting many Facebook users and making the social networking site far from a family-friendly place."

Click here to read more about the latest Facebook fiasco.

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