You may want to keep one eye closed when you log on to Facebook today. The social-networking giant was hit with a hack that is posting hardcore pornography and violent images on profile pages.
Millions of Facebook accounts have reportedly been infected with a virus that spreads the smut, and users are getting angry as they feel powerless to stop the images from appearing. Anonymous is said to be behind the attacks, but that has yet to be confirmed.
Shouldn't Facebook be doing something to block pornography? Perhaps, but it's not clear how the messages are being spread, or whether it is a weakness at Facebook's end or some other type of security issue, said Graham Cluley, a senior security analyst at Sophos.
"Obviously, ideally this kind of content would never be spread via Facebook. The number of people who are reporting having seen offensive material in the last 24 hours suggests that many have been upset," he said. "Facebook has reportedly acknowledged the reports and are said to be investigating.
"Lets hope they can get a handle on it quickly before users vote with their feet. You can imagine that many people would be very offended by the messages."
Facebook Users Tweet Anger
How offensive is the content? Sophos reports that the images include altered pictures of celebrities like Justin Bieber in sexual situations, pictures of extreme violence and even a photograph of an abused dog. Facebook users are turning to Twitter to express their upset.
A Twitter user named frayntrain tweeted, "Seeing a dead dog on my Facebook newsfeed....Officially deactivating it." And another named KryshaBravo wrote, "I sign into Facebook and the 1st thing I see is a dead dog. My relationship with Facebook is now over."
Are these images dangerous to Facebook users or just offensive? Cluley said it's hard to be definitive, however it appears so far that the messages are offensive rather than malicious.
Some of the possibilities include a clickjacking scheme or that Facebook users are being tagged in content without their knowledge. Users may also have poorly chosen privacy settings, Cluley said, been tricked into installing malicious code, or have fallen victim to another vulnerability inside Facebook itself.
Should Companies Block Facebook?
What should people do if they get this supposed virus? Facebook is in the best position to explain what is happening and how to respond. So far, Facebook isn't offering any information about the nature of the attack.
That said, Cluley recommends users tighten their privacy settings, lock down as much as possible their friends' ability to tag them in posts and picture, and run up-to-date anti-virus on their computers.
"Of course, this incident raises another important question," he said. "Many firms may be comfortable allowing users to access sites such as Facebook, but what happens when hardcore pornographic and offensive content is being spread. Should companies block access to sites hosting offensive content?"
Posted: 2011-11-17 @ 5:01pm PT
Wow anonymous. Your sooo cool! So first Sony then Facebook what next? Apple? Good luck.
Posted: 2011-11-17 @ 6:34am PT
An African man standing on a baby, then naked women, and gay porn.
Posted: 2011-11-16 @ 8:58pm PT
It only spreads when someone clicks on it to investigate. It is then posted to your wall. You do have the option to post it as spam and have it removed from facebook. I believe people need to take actions of their own if facebook isn't willing to do anything about it.
Posted: 2011-11-16 @ 11:09am PT
I honestly do not understand why this is news. These people are clicking on links that are OBVIOUSLY spam. If after the email age, and everything that has occurred in the currently, if you cannot tell the difference between someone's valid links and the "Guess what this dad did to his daughter" ones, you probably should stay away from computers all together.
Posted: 2011-11-15 @ 9:47pm PT
Isn't the facebook hack just part of their new project to launch by 2012? FACEPORN?
Posted: 2011-11-15 @ 1:05pm PT
Too many young children on facebook. Not a good idea. The whole idea was to keep folks in touch with thier families & loved ones. Not Porn.
Posted: 2011-11-15 @ 11:41am PT
I think it's great that porn is on facebook