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Security watchers question supposed Facebook hack

Claims of new hacktivist target look like a hoax

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Reported plans by Anonymous to attack Facebook on 5 November appear to be an elaborate hoax by an unknown source.

A manifesto urging net users to "kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy" was posted on a newly created YouTube channel, FacebookOp, on 16 July. The video features the robotic voice familiar from previous confirmed messages from Anonymous. However the production values have slipped and there are other reasons to doubt the authenticity of the message.

The call to arms has not been repeated or even referenced on any of the Twitter accounts or websites usually used by Anonymous. And there are other reasons to be sceptical. "Pay attention to the strange Twitter name they used and links to websites with adverts," noted veteran security specialist Eugene Kasperky, via Twitter. "The news around #Anonymous to attack #Facebook on Nov 5 most probably is fake."

We asked Anonymous to either confirm or deny the op but have yet to receive a reply. Although members of the loosely knit and anarchic hacktivist collective do their own thing from time to time, the group has previously said particular ops, most notably initial attacks against the Westboro Baptist Church, are nothing to do with it.

The FacebookOp video seems to have gone largely ignored until it was picked up by various media outlets on Tuesday, generating scores of stories during the quietest phase of the annual news cycle.

For the record, the clip slams Facebook for handing over information to government agencies and information security firms, "some who work for authoritarian governments such as Egypt and Syria".

It notes that personal information stored on Facebook can be recovered at any time and dismisses as a "delusion" the notion that improved privacy settings introduced by Facebook help users avoid giving away too much personal information.

"Facebook knows more about you than your family," the manifesto states before urging supporters to prepare for the supposed (unspecified) action on 5 November, the anniversary of the failed 1605 Gunpowder plot to blow up the English parliament and assassinate James I. ®

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