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Bogus Facebook Virus Warning - 'Pornographic Movies Posted On Our Behalf'

Outline
Message circulating on Facebook warns that hackers are posting pornographic movies on the walls of Facebook users without their knowledge and that people should not open these movies because they are viruses.



Brief Analysis
This message is so confused and garbled that it has virtually no value as a security warning. It is true that some rogue applications, if installed by an unsuspecting user, can automatically post spam or scam messages to Facebook profiles. However, this warning does not accurately describe any current threat on Facebook. While rogue apps can pose a security threat to users, they are not computer viruses. Reposting this false and misleading message is counterproductive.

Important Note
Versions of these messages have been circulating since at least September 2011. However, a porn attack on Facebook in November 2011 in some ways mirrored the claims in these older "warnings" and this caused a great deal of confusion among Facebook users. In fact, the warnings began circulating long before the November porn attack was launched and have continued to circulate long after the attack was curtailed. These bogus warnings have no connection with the November attack and do not accurately describe it. Bookmark and Share
Detailed analysis and references below example.



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Last updated: 15th November 2011
First published: 20th September 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
ATTENTION FRIENDS!

HACKERS ARE DOING DAMAGE AGAIN ON FACEBOOK!
PORNOGRAPHIC MOVIES ARE BEING POSTED ON OUR BEHALF ON THE WALLS OF OUR PROFILES! WE DO NOT SEE THEM, BUT OTHER PEOPLE DO, AS IF IT WERE OUR PUBLICATION! SOMETIME EVEN OUR SUPPOSED COMMENTS APPEARS. IF YOU SEE SUCH A THING IN MY HOMEPAGE, ALERT ME AND DO NOT OPEN IT BECAUSE IT IS A VIRUS! ...COPY AND RE POST THIS MESSAGE

Pornographic Movies Posted On Our Behalf warning




Detailed Analysis
According to yet another breathless, ALL CAPS warning that is making its way rapidly around Facebook, hackers are posting pornographic movies on the walls of Facebook users without their knowledge. The message warns users not to open these supposed movies because they are viruses.

However, this would-be security warning is too garbled, confused and inaccurate to have any genuine value. There is no current threat that fits the characteristics of the one described in the warning and reposting it will help nobody.

It is true that many rogue Facebook applications, once installed, may automatically send out spam, scam or malware messages. These messages often appear to originate from the accounts of the users who installed the rogue applications. Survey scammers and cybercriminals wishing to distribute malware often use such rogue Facebook apps. Certainly, Facebook users should always use caution when giving applications permission to access and use their profile information.

However, while such rogue apps are a real threat, they are not viruses. Moreover, despite the suggestion in this and other such dubious warnings, rogue applications cannot spread without users taking some action that explicitly allows them to do so. In other words, users must actually install the rogue apps by allowing them permission to access their Facebook information before they can repost anything, pornographic or otherwise. Even if they are unaware of the potential consequences, users must take some sort of direct action, such as following a link that allows the installation of a malicious application, before their account can be used to send further spam messages.

In fact, this current warning appears to be a reworking of an earlier and equally spurious Facebook warning message that claimed that applications were sending out "porno messages" under the name of Facebook users. As in this case, the warning falsely claimed the messages were viruses.

To have any real value, 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 garbled and inaccurate security warnings like the one above will do nothing whatsoever to enhance security on Facebook. Such spurious warnings achieve nothing other than to cause confusion among recipients and clutter our social networks with even more utterly pointless nonsense.

Incidentally, more astute users of the Interwebs, have become increasingly distrustful of any information posted in all capital letters. For many users, posting in all caps is akin to shouting and is considered both amateurish and disrespectful. And, given the amount of complete and utter nonsense that circulates our social networks rendered in all capital letters, this inherent distrust of such messages is certainly understandable.

Bookmark and Share References
Facebook Warning - Applications Sending Porno Messages in Your Name
Email Etiquette Tip - DON'T SHOUT!





Last updated: 15th November 2011
First published: 20th September 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer