Friday, November 18, 2011

Anonymous Says Facebook Spam Not Theirs

New spam on Facebook, which displays pornographic and violent imagery, is not the work of Anonymous. That's the word in a new posting from the political hacktivist group.

There has been speculation by security Relevant Products/Services researchers that the spam was result of something called the Fawkes Virus, a reference to the Guy Fawkes masks that Anonymous members wear in their video Relevant Products/Services communiqués. Fawkes was famous for his role in the Gunpowder Plot that targeted England's King James I in the 17th century, and the Guy Fawkes masks figured prominently in a popular, anti-totalitarian movie set in an alternative modern England, called V for Vendetta.

'Highly Untrue'

But, in a posting on the Pastebin site where Anonymous members have been known to issue communications, AnonymousWiki reports that Anonymous involvement in this attack is "highly untrue."

Facebook has confirmed the spam attack over the last few days, but said it limited the damage. The highly offensive imagery was reported as part of various users' Facebook news feeds. The giant social networking site said that the spam attack exploited a browser vulnerability.

Security analyst Razvan Livintz had reported late last week that there were indications Anonymous intended to invade Facebook accounts with a sophisticated piece of malware, called the Fawkes Virus. Livintz said that the virus was written by Anonymous programmers, and pointed to a video posting on the Anonymous Central Web site that asserted these claims.

'Is This for Real?'

The voice Relevant Products/Services on the video, a computer Relevant Products/Services-generated voice as is the custom with Anonymous communications, noted that the virus can simulate "basic actions on Facebook accounts, such as sending a friend request or a message." A remote Relevant Products/Services administrator could then control Relevant Products/Services those accounts, and code could be executed, or data Relevant Products/Services removed, from infected computers.

The worm automatically sends out infected links with little or no action by the user. But Livintz, and the Pastebin posting, also noted that Operation Facebook was supposed to have taken down Facebook on Nov. 5, which, not incidentally, is Guy Fawkes Day in the U.K. Since Facebook did not fold on that day, the Pastebin posting cites this as evidence that the alleged operation was a fake, and Livintz asks, "Is this for real?"

Observers have noted that the porn-and-violent imagery attack at Facebook serves no obvious political purpose, which Anonymous actions usually do, and that it resembles similar porn-and-violent images spam attacks which have appeared elsewhere. It's also been noted that some Web addresses used to spread the Facebook worm relate to shopping, which is not a typical topic for the group.

"You must take all notices and information Relevant Products/Services claiming to be 'Anonymous' with a grain of salt," a posting on Pastebin from Anonymous noted earlier this year, as it disavowed a coming attack on the New York Stock Exchange that was initially attributed to the group.

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