Ubiquitous social network Facebook seems to be under assault, and as users complain of pornographic and violent images being spammed to their news feeds, one online security firm says this could be just the beginning.
The source of the explicit images is unknown, but users have been advised to crank up their security settings, and businesses may want to block access to the site until the problem passes.
Meanwhile, security product vendors Bitdefender have issued a warning about more Facebook trouble on the horizon.
The company says it has found a video post attributed to hacktivist group Anonymous promising to attack Facebook accounts with a ‘highly sophisticated’ piece of malware codenamed the Fawkes Virus.
Anonymous previously issued a promise to attack Facebook on Guy Fawkes’ Day (November 5), but this date came and went with no major problems.
Bitdefender’s Razvan Livintz says the latest video shows this is no time for complacency.
"If it’s not a hoax, it appears to have the characteristics of 2008’s KoobFace,” Livintz says, "but unlike its predecessor it should also receive commands from a remote attacker and simulate basic functions on Facebook accounts, such as sending a friend request or message.”
George Petre, product manager, social media security for Bitdefender, says research suggests the Fawkes Virus will be carried between accounts with little or no interaction. The explicit image attack reportedly uses a trigger, possibly in the form of the user pasting a code into their browser URL bar.
"Since this outbreak followed a relatively quiet period for Facebook threats, and considering the Anonymous video, we believe that these threats are not related to the Fawkes Virus,” Petre says.