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Hoax - Hacking Group Anonymous Targeting Facebook Users With Giraffe Profile Pics


Facebook warning message claims that the hacking group Anonymous is wiping out the bank accounts and hard drives of people who have played the popular giraffe challenge riddle game and are therefore using giraffe profile images.

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Brief Analysis

The claims in the message are utter nonsense. Even Anonymous cannot access your computer and bank account just because you have a giraffe image as your profile. That claim is simply ridiculous. This silly hoax is circulating at the same time as another - equally false - hoax that claims that the giraffe profile pictures harbour malware. The "giraffe challenge" is a harmless game in which users who cannot correctly answer a riddle are instructed to change their Facebook profile picture to that of a giraffe for three days. The game was certainly not set up by Anonymous.


Whoah! Just found out that the Giraffe challenge was set up by the hacking group Anonymous. Apparently they're going to embark on a random "cleansing" program which will wipe out the bank accounts and hard drives of those people who have giraffe profile pics ... A few of my mates already had it happen, so glad I cheated now!

Detailed Analysis

According to a message that is going viral on Facebook, the popular "Giraffe Challenge" riddle game is actually a sinister plot by hacking group Anonymous to empty people's bank accounts and wipe out their hard drives. The message claims that Anonymous is set to embark on a random "cleansing" program and will be targeting users who have changed their profile picture to that of a giraffe as part of the riddle game.

However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. Even the most skilled hackers could not access people's bank accounts or tamper with their hard drives just because they happened to use an image of a giraffe as their profile picture. The claim is simply ridiculous.

In fact, this message is just an alternative version of another giraffe game hoax warning that falsely claims that giraffe images found online harbour malicious code that can steal your Facebook account login details and give hackers access to your computer.

Both hoaxes are in response to the popular Facebook status game in which users who cannot answer a riddle are instructed to use a picture of a giraffe as their profile picture for three days if they fail to correctly answer a riddle. An example of the message is included below:
Try the great giraffe challenge! The deal is I give you a riddle. You get it right you get to keep your profile pic. You get it wrong and you change your profile pic to a Giraffe for the next 3 days. MESSAGE ME ONLY SO YOU DONT GIVE OUT THE ANSWER. Here is the riddle: 3:00 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors, It's your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?Remember... message me only. If you get it right I'll post your name here. If you get it wrong change your profile picture....
The giraffe game is completely harmless. Playing certainly will not allow Anonymous or anybody else to hijack your bank account or computer.

Of course, it is important that people use caution and common sense when downloading material from unknown websites. People could inadvertently download and install malware in the mistaken belief that they were downloading an innocent image file. However, sharing this bogus hacker warning will only spread misinformation and cause alarm. Reposting this silly message will help nobody.

Last updated: October 29, 2013
First published: October 28, 2013
By Brett M. Christensen
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Giraffe Profile Picture Virus Hoax