Feeds

False Facebook charge group used to spread malware

Malware pokes outraged users

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Updated A false rumour suggesting that Facebook is to start charging is being used to bait malware traps.

Thousands of disgruntled punters, angry at the $4.99 a month charge for using the social networking site that will supposedly kick in from June (or July, according to other false reports) have been induced to visit "protest group" sites in response to spam emails. However, in reality, there is no such plan and the protest pages often contain malware, as urban myth debunking site Snopes warns:

The protest page was a trap for the unwary; clicking on certain elements of it initiated a script that hijacked users' computers. Some of those who did venture a click had their computers taken over by a series of highly objectionable images while malware simultaneously attempted to install itself onto their computers.

Snopes published its warning on 31 December, but groups on Facebook itself protesting the supposed upcoming charges remain active almost two weeks later. A quick check on one such UK group contains no scripting unpleasantness directly, but it does link to numerous third-party sites whose provenance remains suspect. Searching for "Facebook charges July 2010" leads to fake blog entries as well as some legitimate results, evidence of an ongoing black hat SEO campaign of a type commonly used to punt rogue security scanner software over recent months.

A Facebook spokeswoman confirmed the charging rumour was false, adding that it was prepared to clamp down on groups spreading the bogus gossip about social networking fees.

We have removed the largest groups, however, we didn't find any malicious links. We take security very seriously and respond quickly to user reports of suspicious content and behaviour.

Despite Facebook's actions the rumour of supposed charges continues to circulate, creating an environment that may be abused in further black hat SEO attacks. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Black Hat anti-Tor talk smashed by lawyers' wrecking ball
Unmasking hidden users is too hot for Carnegie-Mellon
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.