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Hackers attack Facebook

Facebook users yesterday complained of blasphemy, indecency and violence that have flooded the news feed feature of the social network.

Graphic images included religious icons in sexual scenarios, children who appear to be victims of violence, or half-naked women. Members report these images have been “liked” by them without their permission or knowledge. Some have reported being asked to click on these images and videos by their contacts. Other users, on the other hand, have threatened to deactivate their accounts.

“I was appalled by the onslaught of images at first, and then silently jeered at my contacts who either liked them or commented on them, until I realized I was witnessing a kind of viral attack. I immediately deactivated my account,” one user relayed.

Another, who was upset by the images and was obviously not aware of the hacking spree, posted on his wall: “Sige pa! Kung tanga kayo i-like niyo ang picture ng dead rape victim!” (“Go ahead! If you are stupid like that picture of the dead rape victim!”)

The spam attack involves allowing an outside application to post images and videos to user accounts without their knowledge.

In a statement released on Tuesday, November 15, Facebook said users were tricked into pasting malware into their browsers. This action led to the sharing of offensive content “We’ve built enforcement mechanisms to quickly shut down the malicious Pages and accounts that attempt to exploit it,” Facebook said.

The social networking site has also said that it will continue to investigate the matter and that  it has “drastically limited the damage caused.” Many believe that the international hacking group Anonymous is responsible for the attack, though no one has come forward to claim the deed just yet.

Earlier this month, the “hacktivists” made public their plan to ‘destroy’ Facebook on November 5 in protest of its privacy policy. The group voiced their plot on their Twitter account and a YouTube video stating: ‘If you are a willing hacktivist or a guy who just wants to protect the freedom of information then join the cause and kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy.’

Many users speculate that the November 5 plot, which came to nothing, pushed through with yesterday’s attack. This incident arrived on the heels of an issue involving three Wikileaks volunteers who are fighting a U.S. court decision that forces Twitter to yield their private user data to government authorities.

These two separate issues showed there is an increasing threat against personal security on the Internet. Will this spam attack make the public take notice and act on issues that compromise the security of one’s personal information on sites like Google, Facebook and Twitter? The people’s addiction towards social networking seems to show that this will not be very likely.