You might remember that some Anonymous members claimed they’d be attacking Facebook on November 5th. Nothing seemed to come of that threat, but now there are claims that the attack was actually a more subtle, under-the-radar deployment of something called the Fawkes Virus, a Facebook worm that spreads socially and can take control of users’ accounts. Is this scaremongering, or is there something to the claims?
Claims from apparent Anonymous members insist that the Fawkes Virus can repilicate through a user’s network of friends and can control almost every aspect of infected Facebook accounts. These claims are difficult to verify. Some people have claimed that the Fawkes Virus is actually a trojan commonly referred to as Backdoor.Bifrose.AAJX, which was released in the summer. Others, however, argue that Backdoor.Bifrose.AAJX doesn’t really fit with descriptions of Fawkes Virus, nor with Anonymous members’ stated aims.
This leaves two possibilities. One is that the whole ‘attacking Facebook’ thing was a bit of empty posturing that never came to fruition. The other is that the attack is actually designed to stealthily ‘invade’ Facebook and spread as far as possible before becoming apparent. The latter would be pretty ambitious, but also potentially effective: imagine if millions of accounts could be quietly infected before some ‘trigger’ were to be pulled?
Personally, I’m not convinced that there’s anything quite so sophisticated going on. The Anonymous plan to attack Facebook was always over-hyped, the out-loud pondering of a group of people under the Anonymous umbrella. Time will tell, but Facebook puts a lot of money into security and I’d be amazed if some kind of big vulnerability like this has been discovered. Then again, no system is ever 100% secure.