Finally Admitted by Face book after so many denials
Facebook just admitted that some high-profile public pages were hacked this week. Brian Ries talks to a group of young hackers who claim they exploited a similar bug earlier this month—erasing a batch of anti-Islamic pages.
Earlier this week, Mark Zuckerberg made a strange announcement on his Facebook fan page: His business would focus more on charity and less on profits. And French President Nicolas Sarkozy took to the site to say he would not seek reelection in 2012. Both status updates left people baffled. And both, it’s now clear, were the work of hackers.
“A bug enabled status postings by unauthorized people on a handful of public pages,” a spokesperson for the Palo Alto-based company said in an email statement.Thursday. “The bug has been fixed.”
But it isn’t the first time a glitch in Facebook’s Pages’ code gave hackers a chance to sniff around the social network. Just weeks ago, The Daily Beast got word of a similar vulnerability—this one allegedly allowed a group of Palestinian-friendly hackers to wipe clean the pages of their Zionist opponents.
The groups are based in Pakistan and England and while most people were drinking in the New Year, they were hacking away.
As the clock ticked down the waning minutes of 2010, a 16-year-old kid named TriCk sat down at his computer in England, and pressed play on a track by the controversial rapper, Lowkey, whose lyrics include lines like, “Never worked for a Zionist, never been a Yes Man, my art is like Rembrandt painting pictures of death cams.”
Four thousand miles away, in Pakistan, a small group of Islamic hackers undertook a similar routine.
Soon, a digital flier began to appear on the Facebook walls of groups and pages the hackers say are Zionist, right-wing, and anti-Islamic. Its message: “On the evening of the 31st of December 2010 (New Years Eve), TeaM P0isoN and ZCompany Hacking Crew will clean up Facebook.”
The social network, which now boasts more than 500 million active users, was not doing a sufficient enough job deleting these Pages, it read, “so therefore we are taking action.”
Starting at midnight, the two hacker groups—they called themselves “sister groups”—began working in unison. They claimed to have found an exploit—a glitch in the code much like the one Facebook admitted to today. It was unleashed when Facebook updated to its new profiles and the hackers were using it to alter the offending pages so that they appeared blank.
Members of the targeted communities began to notice that something was not right. “Can’t see any posts,” wrote one confused user. “Your page/group has been hacked… It looks like it has been deleted,” wrote another.
But strangely, Facebook found nothing on their end to suggest the attacks ever took place.
Their Facebook plan was hatched when they found thriving anti-Islamic user communities. That’s when, in Don’swords, “we decided to clean the Facebook.”.
Members of Facebook’s security team said they investigated the backlog of the hundreds of Pages since first being contacted for comment by The Daily Beast, but found no evidence of malicious activity, no suspicious administrator accounts, and nothing to suggest the existence of any security vulnerabilities on the site—a total denial. “We take our statement of rights and responsibilities very seriously and react quickly to reports of inappropriate content and behavior,” a Facebook spokesperson said earlier this month.
But the hackers—and the hacked—seem to believe otherwise.