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Mystery over bogus Facebook login data dump

Smells phishy...

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The publication on Pastebin of the supposed login details of more than 10,000 Facebook users fails to pose any security risks, at least on the social network, because the data is bogus, according to Facebook.

Newly established Nepalese hacking crew Team Swastika caused a stir when they dumped the supposed Facebook login data on Wednesday, a development picked up by security researcher Rik Ferguson of Trend Micro. However, Facebook said that no hack had taken place and that the information posted is garbage.

Facebook said in a statement:

This does not represent a hack of Facebook or anyone's Facebook profiles. Our security experts have reviewed this data and found it to be a set of email and password combinations that are not associated with any live Facebook accounts.

In reality these emails/passwords are the result of standard phishing activities where people were tricked into giving away their credentials.

It's unclear whether the data released is actually phishing data from an unidentified third-party site or complete garbage. Facebook's statement would appear to preclude the possibility that the data is the fruit of a phishing scam, even a spectacularly unsuccessful and widely gamed one, against the dominant social network itself.

Team Swastika has only been around for a week but has already caused a stir by publishing database tables and user credentials that were supposedly stolen from the websites of the Indian Embassy in Nepal and the government of Bhutan using an SQL injection attack. It is unclear whether or not this data is genuine.

More commentary on the "Facebook hack" that never was, and on the appearance of yet another hacking crew can be found in a blog post by Trend Micro here. The advice on the perils of password re-use by Ferguson is worth reading despite the fact that in this particular case, the security breach advertised never took place. ®

Bootnote

Swastikas are a sacred symbol of luck in Hindu culture with their use going back centuries before the Third Reich appropriated the symbol. So the use of the term Team Swastika does not necessarily imply neo-Nazi sympathies.

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