Recently it appeared that Facebook users should have changed their status to “disgusted.” The social media giant was the latest victim of a major spam attack, supposedly at the hands of the formless hacktivist group Anonymous. After Facebook was flooded with offensive and disturbing images, the site took action, quietly working behind the scenes in an effort to remove the distasteful content. Media believes that Facebook handled things quietly in an attempt to keep media attention away from the incident.
But of course, the media was all over it.
You may recall that less than a month before this incident, the same radical group, Anonymous, was accused of threatening to shut Facebook down completely on November 5th. When that warning did not come to fruition, miscellaneous hackers claimed that they were not done with Facebook. Although that was the threat that someone made good on, both Anonymous and Facebook claim that it wasn’t Anonymous. While Facebook admits that it was “a coordinated spam attack” they also assert that they now have the situation under control. In a statement released publicly, Facebook said,
"In addition to the engineering teams that build tools to block spam we also have a dedicated enforcement team that has already identified those responsible and is working with our legal team to ensure appropriate consequences follow.”
The disturbing images included (altered) photos of celebrities performing lewd acts, other photos completely unsuitable for a public site, and even cruel images of animal torture. The pictures were quickly passed from user to user – completely unbeknownst to them.
So why was Facebook spammed so viciously?
According to the YouTube channel of AnonSecurity157, the attack on Facebook was executed exactly as planned. They claim, in part:
"Anonymous would like to welcome you to the Fawkes virus which was fully written by Anonymous programmers, After the worm is under control Anonymous will use this to its advantage against corruption and as an alternative attack against its opponents".
No matter what mystery or drama surrounds Facebook or any other social networking site, remember your basic steps to social networking safety:
- Be careful listing any personal information online. Once your name, address, date of birth, or anything else is online – it’s out there. That means anyone else can access it, so be careful what you post!
- The same goes for photos – when they’re out there, they’re out there. Be careful with the way you represent yourself online. Nothing shared “privately” on the Internet is ever truly private.
- Be smart. Watch who your online “friends” are, stick to the more reputable sites, and use whatever safety precautions the site offers.