Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

Summary:Some hackers are looking to kill Facebook today, but the hacktivist group Anonymous has not changed its stance: it still does not support their cause. This is the second time this has happened.

Important: If you're experiencing a feeling of déjà vu, don't be alarmed. This article was originally published on November 5, 2011, which is when the first Anonymous attack on Facebook was rumored to occur. Since the rumor is back, however, (see Anonymous to attack Facebook on January 28 (video), I have decided to republish this article today because once again the information is false (see Anonymous: no Facebook attack on January 28). Facebook may be attacked today, but if last time is any indication, the site will remain in perfect functioning order (and Facebook has told me it is prepared for any attack, be it from Anonymous or anyone else). The original article is below and is relevant to today: just ignore the dates when you're reading.

Although I debunked this story some three months ago, many are still asking if Facebook is being attacked today, if it will be taken down, and if their account credentials are safe. November 5 (Guy Fawkes Day) is arguably a more likely date for the social network to be hacked than your average Saturday, but as I've already said, if something does happen today, the hacktivist group Anonymous will not be to blame.

This all started on July 16, 2011, when someone created accounts for an "Operation Facebook" on YouTube (FacebookOp) and Twitter (OP_Facebook). The goal was simple: "to bring attention to the fact that Facebook stored the data of user accounts."

The former account is dead and the latter hasn't tweeted anything for almost a month. A previous tweet still points to a YouTube video detailing Facebook as the target for November 5, 2011.

Back in August, I quickly figured out that Anonymous did not support the attacks. Only a small number of members thought Facebook deserved to be taken down. This explained why other mediums of communication that Anonymous has used in the past weren't leveraged and why the released video was not of the usual Anonymous computerized voice and visual production quality.

The timing made me equally suspicious:

The dates are also questionable: why didn’t this news spread like wildfire three weeks ago? Whenever Anonymous or LulzSec declare a new target, the world definitely notices. Furthermore, while Guy Fawkes Day is a perfectly understandable choice, it’s very far away. There are 112 days between July 16, 2011 and November 5, 2011: Anonymous rarely gives more than a few days notice, if at all.

Last but not least, I looked at two Twitter accounts that Anonymous has previously used to talk to the media and the general public (GroupAnon and AnonOps). They have given accurate information regarding the organization and its actions in the past, so I wasn't as hesitant to believe what they were saying. Comparing their tweets to OP_Facebook and the press released attached to the video made it very evident these were not the same people.

While the former of the two official accounts hasn't mentioned Facebook recently, the latter, which has much more followers, did send out a message just yesterday. The tweet simply reads: "We told you many times ddosing Facebook was a fake operation."

Even the Facebook countdown at anonyops.com/Countdown, which ended today, appears to be a dead end. The Twitter account it points to, CabinCr3w, sent out this tweet, also yesterday: "Our tweets have NOTHING to do with FaceBook... this account has nothing to do with it going down if it does."

It's of course still possible that Facebook will be attacked today, but it won't be by Anonymous. I can't emphasize this enough: do not believe reports saying Anonymous is attacking Facebook on November 5, 2011. Some members are undoubtedly trying, but the larger group has made it clear it's not interested in killing the social network.

That being said, I have heard whispers that Facebook is indeed being targeted today. Thankfully, without the support of Anonymous, those trying are very few in number. Furthermore, Facebook had a lot of time to prepare for Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and Structured Query Language (SQL) injection attacks typically favored by hackers nowadays.

To summarize, I would be very surprised if Facebook stopped functioning even for just a few minutes today. It never hurts, of course, to change your password and to pay attention to what you click on, both on the social network and the Internet as a whole.

See also:

Topics: Security, Social Enterprise

About

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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