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Issue 144 - December 2012 (1st Edition) - Page 18

Another Pointless Facebook Warning - Hackers Posting Insulting Messages In Your Name

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Outline
"Hacker alert" circulating on Facebook claims that, without your knowledge, hackers are posting insulting messages that appear to come from you on the walls of your friends.



Brief Analysis
This message is simply too vague to have any real merit as a security warning. It contains no specific information about how these supposed "hackers" gain access to user accounts or how users might avoid such attacks. There is no credible information about a current "hacker" attack like the one described. In fact, the message appears to be nothing more than a mutation of earlier and equally dubious hacker warnings. Reposting this message will help no one.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: November 19, 2012
First published: November 10, 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Examples
New type of hackers on FB. What they write is aggression against you, and it's insulting. It's really nasty and it appears to come from you. You do not see it, but your friends do.. One result of this can be that you will be deleted off your friends list. Just want to say, if you get something that is offensive, malicious, vulgar, etc., it is ABSOLUTELY not from me .. Copy this and put in your status....

Dear FB Buddies . . . If I have something negative to say to you, I will inbox you. Watch your wall. Tell your friends . . . Hackers are now on FB writing insults on your friends' walls, such insults of which are made to appear as having come from you. You don't know or see it but your friends do. As a result, they have deleted you from their list of friends. I want to assure you that if you get something supposedly from me that's offensive, it certainly didn't come from me.......copy n paste...

IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ALL !!!!!!!!!!!! Watch out for your wall! Tell a friend! Hackers are now on Facebook and on the walls of your friends write insults under your name and that you do not know.You will not see, but your friends see that your name is written below the written insults. If you get something from me offensive, know that it was not me! Copy to your wall ...!! And let me know if you receive anything like this from me so I can take care of it..

~~~~~WARNING~~~~HACKER ALERT~~~~~~~~

DISCLAIMER: Hackers are busy on Facebook!!! They post some insulting messages on the wall of your friends with your regards, without you knowing about it. If you receive one of those messages in my name, it wasn't me posting them. Put this on your wall and warn your friends. Share the news!!!





Detailed Analysis

According to this "hacker alert" message, which is circulating rapidly via Facebook, hackers are infiltrating Facebook accounts and using them to post insulting messages on the Facebook Walls of people's friends. Insulting messages that these friends will think came from the owner of the hacked account. The message asks users to share the information on their own walls as a means of alerting other Facebook users of this supposed hacker activity.

However, the message is so vague that it has no real value as a security warning and reposting it will serve no useful purpose. This feckless warning provides no information about how these supposed hackers go about compromising Facebook accounts. Nor does it provide any details about how people might protect themselves from said hackers, how widespread the hacker attack is, or what date the alleged nefarious activities began. It does not provide references that might allow people to find out this information for themselves. It does not even include so much as a single example of a hacker generated "insulting message" that might help users identify an attack.

Moreover, there are no credible computer security reports about a Facebook account hijacking campaign like the one alluded to in the message.

In fact, the message seems to be nothing more than a mutated version of earlier - and equally useless - Facebook driven warnings that claimed that inappropriate videos or messages were being posted in the names of Facebook users without their knowledge.

Of course, some rogue Facebook apps, if given the necessary permissions by a user during the installation process, may automatically post spam, scam or malware messages on the user's wall. And, if the user inadvertently divulges Facebook login details via a phishing scam, then Internet criminals could subsequently access the compromised account and post any messages that they wanted to. However, "hackers" no matter how "busy" they are on Facebook cannot randomly access Facebook accounts and use them to send messages insulting or otherwise. To allow such activities to take place, users must have first taken some overt action such as installing a rogue app, opening an attachment or website that harbours malware, or providing personal information via a phishing scam. Thus, even if a user is not aware of the consequences of his or her actions, that user must actually DO something that opens the door for the hijacker or rogue app. Hackers do not possess magical powers that allow them to take over Facebook accounts at will. And, your average cybercriminal is likely much more interested in getting your money or sensitive personal information than he is in sending insulting messages to your friends.

To be useful, security warnings need to be up-to-date, accurate, and contain enough detailed information to allow recipients to recognize and deal with the perceived threat should it come their way. Reposting vague and unsubstantiated security warnings like the one above will not enhance security on Facebook in any way whatsoever. These silly warnings do nothing other than to cause confusion among recipients and clutter our social networks with even more utterly pointless nonsense.

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References
Bogus Facebook Virus Warning
Facebook Warning Post - Apps Sending 'Not Very Nice' Messages Using Your Name
'Photo U Got Tagged In' Rogue App
Facebook 'Your Password is Not Safe' Malware Email
Facebook Account Update Phishing Scam Email

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Issue 144 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Jetstar 'Flight Itinerary' Malware Email
  2. WhatsApp 'Logo Will Turn Red' Hoax
  3. Christmas Cards for Recovering American Soldiers
  4. Virgin Money 'Re-Confirm SiteKey' Phishing Scam
  5. How to Survive a Heart Attack When Alone Hoax
  6. Facebook Deleting Inactive Users Hoax
  7. Completely Pointless and Misleading 'Facebook Privacy Notice'
  8. Absurd Warning - 'LOL' stands for 'Lucifer Our Lord'
  9. Bogus Prize Offers on Facebook - 'Like and Share To Win'
  10. Tesco Christmas Voucher Phishing Scam
  11. DEW Bottled Water Fatal Poisoning Hoax
  12. ANZ 'Reward for Loyal Customers' Phishing Scam
  13. Chase Paymentech 'Merchant Billing Statement' Malware Email
  14. Undertaker - John Cena 'Bloodiest Fight Ever' Survey Scam
  15. Padlock on Facebook Home Page Hacker Warning Hoax
  16. Woolworths 'Customer Satisfaction Survey' Phishing Scam
  17. Target 'Free Gift Voucher' Survey Scam
  18. Another Pointless Facebook Warning - Hackers Posting Insulting Messages In Your Name
  19. Fake Tsunami Warning 'News' Report Points to Malware
  20. Reserve Bank Of India Phishing Scam
  21. Better Business Bureau 'Complaint Received' Malware Emails