Thursday, November 17, 2011

Facebook Tracks Down Recent Spammers

If you have been on Facebook sometime this week, I’m sure that you noticed the pornographic and violent material that was plaguing the social networking site. I myself was shocked at some of the things that were popping up in my feed. Well, on Wednesday Facebook said that they were able to track down the hackers that were responsible for the spam attack.

"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," said a spokesman for Facebook.

On Tuesday a security firm called Sophos released a blog post stating that Facebook had been overwhelmed with objectionable content for the previous 24 hours. Security consultant Graham Cluley said, "The content, which includes explicit hardcore porn images, photoshopped photos of celebrities such as Justin Bieber in sexual situations, pictures of extreme violence and even a photograph of an abused dog, have been distributed via the site—seemingly without the knowledge of users."

Facebook confirmed a little after the release of Sophos’s blog post that it had been hit with "a coordinated spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability." The company also mentioned that its efforts "drastically limited the damage caused by this attack."

Facebook went on to say that users were "tricked into pasting and executing malicious javascript in their browser URL bar causing them to unknowingly share this offensive content." After these attacks began occurring, engineers worked to build “enforcement mechanisms” that shut all of the inappropriate pages down, as well as all of the accounts that had published them.

"We have also been putting those affected through educational checkpoints so they know how to protect themselves," Facebook continued. "We've put in place backend measures to reduce the rate of these attacks and will continue to iterate on our defenses to find new ways to protect people."

Hopefully all of these issues truly have been fixed, and Facebook will continue taking precautions to prevent attacks like this from occurring. If the company doesn’t, I know that there will be plenty of parents that will have issues with their young teenagers being on the social networking site. It sounds like Facebook is really working to prevent things like this, and they were able to shut down the attack, in my opinion, very quickly. I think that they did a great job handling a very difficult situation.

Source: PCMag - Facebook Identifies Porn Spammers

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