Friday, September 24, 2010

Facebook Tech Problems Made Cyber Criminals a Path to Make Inroads

Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Summary:

Recently, on 23rd September, Facebook experienced serious technical difficulties which made the site unavailable for many users. This Scenario offered cyber criminals a good chance to trap innocent internet users and these culprits managed to spread a "Warning Message", purporting to from the BBC news team, claims that Facebook's main system has been hacked and users should change passwords immediately.

The warning is invalid and does not originate with BBC News. In fact, around the 23rd September 2010, Facebook suddenly unavailable for many users due to serious technical problems. However, there is no evidence to suggest that Facebook was hacked or that the password system or personal information was compromised or lost. Facebook was running normally by 24th September with no reports of security breaches or data loss.

Let's have a look tho the contents of the 'warning message':

September 2010 you may have noticed that facebook servers have crashed and that you cannot sign in or on, this is because a group of hackers have hacked the main system, the facebook team are trying to save what they can, it is advised if facebook does come up and running again you ...change your password immediately. Thanks BBC news team try get the msg round as quick as possible.


Beware! Its a Cyber World - - Explanation:

According to this message, which rather ironically, is circulating very rapidly around Facebook itself, the social network was compromised on 23rd September 2010 because a group of hackers gained access to Facebook's "main system". The message advises that the Facebook team is trying to save information and that, if Facebook does come back up, users should change their password immediately. The warning claims to be from the BBC news team.

However, the warning has no basis in fact and should not be taken seriously. And the message is certainly not from BBC news.

Facebook did experience serious technical problems around the 23rd September. These problems meant that Facebook was not available or ran very slowly for many users around the world. However, there are no credible reports that suggest that the network was hacked, or in any way compromised during these outages. Nor are they any reports that any data on the network was lost during the problems.

The site was apparently back up and operating normally for most users by 24th September. A 24 September post on the Facebook "About" page notes:
We've resolved the technical difficulties that caused the site to be unavailable for a number of people. Everyone should now have access to Facebook. We apologize for the inconvenience.
An earlier post noted:
We’re currently experiencing some site issues causing Facebook to be slow or unavailable for some people. We are working to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.
And a September 23 CNN news article notes:
(CNN) -- Facebook was down for many users for several hours Thursday, the second day in a row access to the site was hampered.

"Today we experienced technical difficulties causing the site to be unavailable for a number of users," a spokeswoman said in an email. "The issue has been resolved and everyone should now have access to Facebook. We apologize for any inconvenience." The problem started early Thursday afternoon and was resolved by about 5:30 p.m. ET.
Thus it seems that some prankster has used the technical problems as a cover story to add weight to this false security warning. Spreading such false information will help no one.

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