Feeds

Official: Facebook filth flood nowt to do with Fawkes virus

Ordinary indecent criminals

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Facebook has blamed a scam that tricks users into pasting rogue code into their browsers for the sudden torrent of filth in users' walls.

Users of the social network were shocked to see pornographic photoshopped images of Justin Bieber, images of an abused dog and other disturbing content on their friends' Walls as a result of the attack, which exploded late on Monday but may have actually begun some days earlier.

Although the origin or purpose of the spam attack remains unclear, Facebook is blaming a "self-XSS vulnerability" that involves tricking users into pasting rogue JavaScript into their browsers. A slightly ambiguously worded statement by the social network, quoted below, implies that the shock image outrage is purely user error rather than a flaw in the web browser software or Facebook's site.

Protecting the people who use Facebook from spam and malicious content is a top priority for us, and we are always working to improve our systems to isolate and remove material that violates our terms. Recently, we experienced a coordinated spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability. Our efforts have drastically limited the damage caused by this attack, and we are now in the process of investigating to identify those responsible.

During this spam attack users were tricked into pasting and executing malicious javascript in their browser URL bar causing them to unknowingly share this offensive content. Our engineers have been working diligently on this self-XSS vulnerability in the browser. We've built enforcement mechanisms to quickly shut down the malicious Pages and accounts that attempt to exploit it.

We have also been putting those affected through educational checkpoints so they know how to protect themselves. We've put in place backend measures to reduce the rate of these attacks and will continue to iterate on our defences to find new ways to protect people.

One early theory suggested that the Facebook filth flood was linked to a threat last week by a purported member of Anonymous to release a “highly sophisticated” worm (dubbed the Fawkes Virus) onto Facebook. However now even the security firm that most closely tracked this possible threat, Bitdefender, is discounting this speculation.

George Petre, a senior security researcher at Bitdefender, explained that its social networks security app Safego has tackled an increasing number of threats containing porn or other shock images over the last two weeks.

"Since this outbreak followed a relatively quiet period for Facebook threats, and considering the Anonymous video, we wondered if these are related to the Fawkes virus. However, we decided not for a number of reasons: firstly it looks like other Facebook outbreaks. In addition, some of the URLs used to spread this kind of worm contained a domain name related to the idea of shopping (laptop-rental-store.info). These are ordinary scams and we believe Anonymous would use something more sophisticated," he concluded. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
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
NEW, SINISTER web tracking tech fingerprints your computer by making it draw
Have you been on YouPorn lately, perhaps? White House website?
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
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
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

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
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.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
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.