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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Spam attack hits Facebook Help Center

After suffering a deluge of porn and violent images earlier of November, users of social networking giant Facebook were hit yet again by another spam wave in the later weeks of last November, a Facebook enthusiast blog reported. The "Facebook Privacy and Security" blog posted screenshots of the spam attack, which targeted Facebook's Help Center Community Forum. "Facebook's Help Center does not deal with users directly, with non-interactive topics based on FAQ's and site changes being the only Facebook presence. Users wanting more help are encouraged to post questions in the Community Forum, but the generous Facebook users who provide assistance there have no ability to remove the spammers," it said. It noted clicking on each topic reveals dozens of posts filled with links, leading allegedly to official video streams of sporting events or movies. "The spammers suggest clicking on the links will provide free footage, and some posts contain the same link repeated 60-plus times to entice users to click on them," the blog post said.

Click to enlarge

As of 9:40 a.m. Manila time, the spam messages have yet to be taken down. "Genuine questions by Facebook users are shunted so far down the line that most are invisible," the blog noted. The blog suggested that Facebook create a team charged with making sure that the Help Center community forum is safe from spam attacks, so that users with genuine issues can get help. It also suggested that Facebook create a User Support team to manage the Help Center itself, so that questions can be answered directly by employees equipped to resolve issues efficiently and with expediency. A separate blog entry by computer security firm Sophos hinted the spammers could be taking advantage of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, "when Facebook's security team may be more lightly staffed than normal." It also added, "Certainly it's embarrassing for the social networking website to have one of its own pages hit so significantly by spammers, when it has recently been lauding its achievements in the fight against Facebook spam."

There is a strong possibility that the Facebook spam attack that hit Facebook earlier November could be an attempt to put down Facebook, probably by Anon, another hacker group, or a competitor. I believe it will never stop until Facebook suffers considerable damage when it comes to its reputation. It may not be immediately felt by the social networking giant, but if it continues, users will eventually loss their trust on the company. To some spammers, the spam attack that took place earlier revealed that Facebook is not so invulnerable after all, like any other site, it also has its weaknesses, and that weakness gives other spammers and hackers the opportunity to break through.


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