Feeds

False Facebook charge group used to spread malware

Malware pokes outraged users

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

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. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.