Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

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.

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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

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

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.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

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11 comments
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  • RE: Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

    Hi I ithank you for your information about annonymous not attacking facebook, but What I would like to say is that although facebook is holding on to information it does not give hackers a right to try to infiltrate the social network. I mean with so much cyber crime going on maybe facebook is tracking their users to avoid any mishaps for their social network. People should be greatful that they have people being tracked so that they can catch those who are criminals. I mean it gives me piece of mind knowing that facebook is watching out for me. If you are not doing anything suspicious online then you should not have anything to worry about, right?
    Sunshine7907
  • RE: Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

    Well that's a pity in a way, a DOS attack would maybe wake up Facebook and its users...
    The EULA of Facebook (I do not know about Twitter, and others) are just horrendous!! They ask you to give up all the copyright of any material published on their site, and they can publish, sell, distribute in any form anything you post for commercial purpose... Being on Facebook is basically giving up your whole privacy (if you are leaving any of course).
    I think the take home message should be: If you want to keep a little bit of privacy, do not post your entire life on the web!! And surely media such as ZDnet are or should be important in making people aware of what are the risk of posting their entire life on the web. I post very little, and maybe that's already too much?!
    rvboutin
  • RE: Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

    this just sounds like the type of shit that someone (i.e. Anonymous) would say if they failed.

    if anonymous had nothing to do with the original threat on youtube, I would have thought they would have submitted a CREDIBLE counter claim.

    The worst thing they did was advertisign to the world their intentions.

    Bunch of bloody nerds.
    cf_phil
  • YES THEY ARE!

    I'm sure their servers have taken a beating right now. Just try to go sign on facebook is getting torn up.

    That and all you are is PROPAGANDA! You are trying to sway public opinion but it IS NOT WORKING.
    mr.fauxs
    • RE: Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

      @mr.fauxs No offense to anyone replying, but your talking about a bunch of amateur script kiddies that keep getting lucky. Keep in mind, that if you understand that Facebook deals with millions of digital communications a second, and are more likely to have massive server farms with plenty of overhead in bandwidth, plus all the upgrades of the years and enhancements since the threat. I'm betting Anonymous would have to convince millions of people and acquire massive amounts of bandwidth to down huge web server farms in the first place. If they target only one server, there is still no garanttee that it works. I'm waiting to see REAL hackers do something. Just so we understand, Anonymous is nothing but a bunch of bullies that should be put in their place. I'd love to see them get their asses handed to them by the real hackers of the internet. The ones you never hear about that actually have your personal information, and you don't know it.
      zedaxis
  • RE: Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

    I heard via Twitter that many people's Facebook accounts were being deleted for boogus reasons if they liked anything relating to Anonymous. I thought it was rubbish until I went to sign into my account! It was a no go. Went to check my mail and had a note from the "kind people" at Facebook saying I had "over tagged" so my account was closed. How ridiculous. It is a shame Anonymous didn't take them down.
    DestroyTheIlluminaughty
  • RE: Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

    Screw Anonymous. They are nothing but a bunch of A-holes.
    rrogacki@...
  • RE: Anonymous is not attacking Facebook today

    Bummer. That'd have been a great b'day present!
    Crashin Chris
  • <a href="http://www.funnystatuses.net">Funny Facebook Status</a>

    Good news maybe they will pay more attention to youtube and upload some a them fantastic videos of girls, I'm gonna make a funny facebook status out of this and send it to all the people who get their accounts hacked for sure.. but one thing? what exactly is the cause of all this? to bring attention to the fact that Facebook stored the data of user accounts. what a great cause really come on, doesn't everybody already know Facebook credentials are rather dodgy? why not hack for "the American goverment starving africa" or even "millions die in gaddafi war" I mean come on!! if Facebook wasn't here tommorrow would any of us people in the real world really give a crap, no not me sorry..
    dmtaylor247
  • And the sun is not rising in the west today.

    Just sos you'd know.
    Userama
  • Effort to remove facebook porn

    Guys, we all know that pornographic content exsits on facebook. In other words we can say facebook is becoming porn site.

    To support me point see – http://motherwiselife.org/2013/03/11/an-open-letter-to-facebook/

    The concern is what are we doing about this? We all know facebook is not doing anything about this but atleast we should try and do what we can do.

    I did two things as of now:

    1. Make a complain against Facebook on bbb.org (Better Business Bureau)

    - Facebook must respond to complaints made here to keep their good rating so they will answers any question you have.
    – You can make complains and list the URL or link that you think is pornographic image/page/video
    – After facebook receive link your you, they have to delete it or it will go to media…

    We call all make this effort and at least remove the page that we think is porn.

    2. Go to http://www.facebook.com/help/contact/274459462613911

    - Select “Other abuse or harrassment.”
    - Select “No”
    - Enter the links that you think are porn
    – Write what ever you think facebook should do about this in the “Description” tab

    We are anti-porn community might be able to get ride of all the porn content on facebook. All we need to do it make complaint about the link (it should take about 5 mins) and spread the word!

    If you think doing this will give your some satisfaction that you are helping somebody then LET’s DO THIS!
    cloudyelectron1@...