Feeds

Official: Facebook filth flood nowt to do with Fawkes virus

Ordinary indecent criminals

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.