Facebook identifies violence, porn imagery culprits

By on November 16, 2011, 3:30 PM

Today, Facebook announced they have identified the unscrupulous individuals responsible for propagating objectionable material across their user's accounts. The questionable photos and videos included beastiality, excessive violence and pornography. No details were provided by Facebook regarding the identities of the perpetrators.

A Facebook spokesperson stated, "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".

Being labeled by some media outlets as the "Guy Fawkes virus", the script reportedly exploits a browser vulnerability which allows the malware to post unsavory images, videos and links under the afflicted user's Facebook account. Please bear in mind the name brewing for this attack is misleading as there are no clear indications that Anonymous was involved, aside from the bogus Guy Fawkes day attack that never materialized. Anonymous has denied ties to the incident.

The attack itself is based on a self-XSS vulnerability exploit. The exploit reportedly works on most Internet browsers, although Google Chrome users will be pleased to know they are unaffected. The attack spreads itself through spam with links, often posing as a "tagged photo" message or involving celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Justin Beiber to entice users to click. It is said the origin of problem began when less sophisticated users were asked to paste a malicious line of JavaScript in their Internet browser's address bar. Since then, it has spread to an unknown number of Facebook users.

As many of you may be aware, if the true originators of this attack took any steps to obfuscate themselves, they could be very difficult or even impossible to track down. However, doing so successfully is not without precedent. Facebook recently managed to catch the spam king, Sanford Wallace, who surrendered to the FBI after a two-year investigation.

If you or someone you know has been affected, there are three basic, generic steps to take to stop most attacks like this. First, keep your browser up-to-date. In this case, as usual, Chrome was unaffected. Certain browser extensions can help keep you safe too, like no-script and adblock. Secondly, remove any Facebook apps tied to your account, especially those you do not fully trust or use. And lastly, scan your computer for malware and virus infections by using tools like Malwarebytes (free version is available) and Microsoft Security Essentials, a completely free virus scanner.

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