The Tech Herald

Facebook profiles get a violent porn facial

by Steven Mostyn - Nov 16 2011, 12:41

Image: hansol/Flickr.

When firing up Facebook, you generally expect to view the banal daily antics of vaguely familiar people you haven’t actually spoken to directly since high school. What you don’t expect to find is copious amounts of pornographic and violent content plastered all over your profile.

Looking beyond those who might welcome such an eye-opening addition to the Facebook experience, many users of the world’s largest social network have been left shocked following a hack attack that pushed a flood of distasteful material onto their news feeds.

According to mounting user complaints, pornographic and violent imagery posted to profiles even appears to have been automatically ‘Liked’, which then leads to it being openly displayed for connected friends and family to see.

The attack was initially brought to light by The Christian Post after it was contacted by Hollywood Girl actress Courtney Zito—who herself had fallen victim.

“My feed is littered with porn. I can’t even check my news feed with anyone around because of it,” said Zito. “Just saw one with a guy who had his skull bashed in and his brains [were] on the street… I’m about ready to deactivate.” 

In terms of assigning blame for the attack, infamous hacker collective Anonymous is being banded about as the likely culprit—not least because the group recently promised to bring Facebook to its knees.

Security specialist Sophos has said the sudden influx of pornographic and violent content could be the result of a successful Spam attack, which gathers pace as more and more users click in-bound messages and links.

Users could be “falling for a clickjacking scheme, are being tagged in content without their knowledge, have poorly chosen privacy settings, have been tricked into installing malicious code, or have fallen victim to another vulnerability inside Facebook itself,” said Sophos.

Facebook, which has not yet offered any official comment, recently said it has to contend with around 600,000 similar hack attacks every day.

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