Analysts reluctantly blame someone other than Anonymous for Facebook porn storm

It's just easier to blame everything on nameless, faceless 'anarchists'; makes everything more efficient

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High-profile hacking victim theorizes Anonymous may not be only suspect

The "coordinated spam attack" Facebook blamed for flooding the site with pornographic and violent images was not the work of Anonymous, a security researcher said yesterday, no matter how easy it is to blame every significant attack, defacing, spear-phising or consumer-fleecing cybercrime on the high-profile hacktivist group.

Security vendor BitDefender has accused Anonymous members of having created a worm called the "Fawkes Virus," to attack Facebook on Guy Fawkes Day, Nov. 5.

The threat was made in a YouTube video by people who appear to be members of Anonymous, but were either making empty threats, or were unable to gather enough support from within the leaderless Anonymous to put together an attack.

"We told you many times DDOSing Facebook was a fake operation," one message posted two days before the attack was supposedly due.

"We don't kill the messenger. That's not our style," reads another.

Researchers at BitDefender found copies of the Fawkes worm Nov. 12, barely a day before Facebook was flooded with porn Nov. 14 and 15.

That prompted some analysts and media types to finger Anonymous for the porn pics.

"These are ordinary scams and we believe Anonymous would use something more sophisticated," according to a Computerworld interview with BitDefender analyst George Petre. "We expect the Fawkes virus to be something related to malware, and to have complex mechanisms."

Facebook itself announced the attack took advantage of a weakness in cross-site scripting (XSS) – an attack technique in which a Web site will be embedded with malicious code designed to run on a user's machine – usually within the browser.

Users that hit pages infected with the malicious code have their own machines infected, and often pass the infection along to the next site they hit.

The most recent Facebook attack did not rely on that technique, BitDefender told Computerworld.

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