Facebook hit with unsolicited porn, violent videos

Tue Nov 15, 2011 4:52pm EST

The Facebook logo is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010.  REUTERS/Thierry Roge

The Facebook logo is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Thierry Roge

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(Reuters) - Facebook Inc said on Tuesday that it is investigating a rash of unsolicited graphic images that hit some users' accounts this week.

The images, Internet links and videos depicting pornography and violence have hit some people's Facebook newsfeeds in recent days.

"We experienced a coordinated spam attack that exploited a browser vulnerability," Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said in a statement emailed to Reuters. "Our efforts have drastically limited the damage caused by this attack, and we are now in the process of investigating to identify those responsible."

Facebook does not know yet who was behind the attack and a motive was not clear, Noyes added during an interview with Reuters.

Facebook users were tricked into pasting and executing "malicious" javascript in their browser URL bar, which led to them unknowingly sharing the content, Noyes explained.

Facebook engineers have been working to reduce this browser vulnerability, he added.

Facebook and other "Web 2.0" sites are easy targets for such attacks because they pull in a lot of content from outside sources, according to Paul Ferguson, senior threat researcher at Trend Micro Inc.

"It seems every other day there is some new Facebook 'threat,' but this is just the new reality of Web 2.0 and social networking," Ferguson said. "It is 'low-hanging fruit' for criminals."

(Reporting by Alistair Barr in San Francisco and Jim Finkle in Boston, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Matthew Lewis)

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