Facebook spam attack, as obscene imagery deters users

Ken Hong November 16, 2011 0
Facebook spam attack, as obscene imagery deters users

The beloved social networking service, Facebook came under spam attack on Monday. Users were distraught to find random pornographic and violent images on their newsfeed. The content of these disturbing imagery came in forms of link, video, and images, which included doctored pornographic celebrity picture of Justin Bieber, violence, mutilation, and bestiality.

This spam attack was propagated by unaware users who clicked on malicious links. Many users expressed their dissatisfaction with Facebook via Twitter, some even saying they are going as far as deleting their accounts. Later reports on Tuesday night said that the spam was due to users copying and pasting unknown links into hacked web browsers. And as why it took as long as 48 hours for Facebook to take down most of the contents was that it needed users to flag the sources, but the majority of the people were simply commenting on them.

“Seeing a dead dog on my Facebook newsfeed… Officially deactivating it”

Fortunately, no data or account information was compromised, said Facebook spokesman Frederic Wolens. Also, the Facebook team is still working to removed the rest of the contents and boost up the security system so something like this does not happen again. Like all skilled hacking, there’s no information as to who was behind this attack, but speculation has led belief its associated with hacking group, Anonymous, who as the name goes, remains hiding.

This information does not come with some evidence, as Anonymous affiliated groups has said they’ve come up with a virus that would attack Facebook, perhaps going further to kill Facebook. If the purpose of the attackers was to drive users away from using Facebook, they have succeed to a certain degree as some users have mentioned deactivating their accounts. We could see more attacks in the future to bring down the massive social network, but for now the disaster is contained.


Security researcher has revealed that the speculated attacker of Facebook was not Anonymous according to Romanian security vendor BitDefender. What was planned to be ‘Kill Facebook Day’ on November 5th was abandoned by the group. Facebook also mentioned that the spam was a ‘self-XSS browser vulnerability’ meaning recipients of spam messages copy and paste malicious JavaScript into the browser which led to the spread of the images due to hacked accounts.

The spam attack was no more than Facebook’s vulnerable defense, there’s also belief that Anonymous would have created a more sophisticated program with enhanced complexity.

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