Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Attacks/Breaches

Facebook Porn Spam Appears Unrelated To Anonymous

Despite initial reports of a link, Facebook spam carrying pornographic images wasn't related to Fawkes, new malware supposedly developed by Anonymous, security experts say.

The torrent of Facebook spam carrying pornographic and violent images that affected many users of the social network earlier this week wasn't related to Fawkes, the new malware supposedly developed by Anonymous. In fact, Anonymous seems to have had nothing whatsoever to do with the attack, despite some security researchers initially suspecting otherwise.

"Some are experiencing an outbreak of pornography on Facebook. This is leading some to speculate that Anonymous is responsible for this, calling this outbreak the 'Fawkes Virus.' I assure you that Anonymous involvement with this is highly untrue," according to a statement released on Tuesday to Pastebin by "AnonymousWiki."

Security researchers had suspected that Anonymous might have been behind the Facebook spam since members of the hacktivist collective had recently threatened the social network. Notably, Razvan Livintz, an analyst at BitDefender, had said Friday that Anonymous has been preparing a hit on Facebook, using malware that it had developed and released in July. His observations were based in part on a video that surfaced on Anonymous Central Friday.

But, the pornographic image spam didn't fit the Anonymous modus operandi, and furthermore the outbreak didn't even appear to be new. "Over the past two weeks we've seen an increasing number of threats, based on the statistics provided by our social media security app Safego," said George Petre, head of social media research for BitDefender, via email. "Most of these threats contained porn images or shocking images."

[Learn 5 Ways Enterprises Can Stay Safer On Facebook.]

Petre was one researcher who had suspected that Anonymous might be behind the Facebook spam. "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," he told the Register.

"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 said.

Security researchers are still watching Facebook carefully for signs of Anonymous-led attacks since the Anonymous video surfaced Friday. It warned that the collective had developed a "highly sophisticated" piece of malware that they intended to target at Facebook, and which could spread via the social network by sending infected links to people's friends, which would then allow a remote administrator to control those accounts. In addition, it said that the malware could execute arbitrary code on targeted computers and retrieve data from hard drives.

Anonymous said its Fawkes virus would become the latest tool in its attack arsenal. "After the worm is under control, Anonymous will use this to its advantage against corruption and as an alternative attack toward groups who take on Anonymous," it said.

But is the Fawkes virus real or just posturing? A previous Anonymous attack campaign, "Operation Facebook," was quickly dismissed as a hoax by many Anonymous members. Notably, that campaign was to have brought Facebook to its knees by November 5, 2011, aka Guy Fawkes Night in Britain.

Likewise, supposed members of Anonymous had recently taken credit for stealing celebrities' data from CapitalOne, but CapitalOne strongly denied that any such breach had ever occurred. Another hoax involved calls for Anonymous to target the New York Stock Exchange with a distributed denial-of-service attack. But statements quickly issued via official Anonymous channels decried any such call to arms, positing that it had been the work of law enforcement agencies seeking to catch real Anonymous members. As noted by Anonymous members in a Pastebin post at the time: "You must take all notices and information claiming to be 'Anonymous' with a grain of salt."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
QQWE2085
50%
50%
QQWE2085,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2011 | 12:03:21 AM
re: Facebook Porn Spam Appears Unrelated To Anonymous
Thats where your wrong at there

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
Flash Poll
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-19589
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
The Lever PDF Embedder plugin 4.4 for WordPress does not block the distribution of polyglot PDF documents that are valid JAR archives.
CVE-2019-19597
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
D-Link DAP-1860 devices before v1.04b03 Beta allow arbitrary remote code execution as root without authentication via shell metacharacters within an HNAP_AUTH HTTP header.
CVE-2019-19598
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
D-Link DAP-1860 devices before v1.04b03 Beta allow access to administrator functions without authentication via the HNAP_AUTH header timestamp value. In HTTP requests, part of the HNAP_AUTH header is the timestamp used to determine the time when the user sent the request. If this value is equal to t...
CVE-2019-19596
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
GitBook through 2.6.9 allows XSS via a local .md file.
CVE-2019-19590
PUBLISHED: 2019-12-05
In radare2 through 4.0, there is an integer overflow for the variable new_token_size in the function r_asm_massemble at libr/asm/asm.c. This integer overflow will result in a Use-After-Free for the buffer tokens, which can be filled with arbitrary malicious data after the free. This allows remote at...