Users of the popular social networking site woke up to a harsh reality yesterday when they found their pictures morphed, put on pornographic sites and feeds sent to friends; experts fear this may bring about site's downfall
Over two lakh city Facebook users woke up to a social media embarrassment yesterday morning as their accounts had been hacked and weblinks to their morphed pornographic pictures sent as feeds to friends and family.
According to global media reports, more than 60 lakh Facebook accounts were hacked since Sunday night. Social networking analysts have claimed that officially more than 2 lakh Bangalore Facebook accounts were hacked.
The cyber crime department has received many calls and complaints regarding the mass hacking. They have started preliminary investigations in a few cases too.
All Porn and gore
A resident of Koramangala logged on to her Facebook account yesterday morning from a cyber caf �, only to get the shock of her life. "My mother, brother and 19 friends of mine had rebuked me after reading my status message.
It had a link to a website, and on clicking I saw my face morphed and pasted onto the body of a porn star. My name and details were also available on the website. I called the police, but they directed me to the cyber crime police station," said Kamini Varma (name changed).
Kamini's last post said that she was quitting the popular social networking site after being embarrassed amongst their friends. There were around 50 other posts on Facebook that stated the users are quitting the social networking site forever after being embarrassed before friends and family.
"The website is no longer safe. My friend had posted a link to a news report claiming to have been published in a popular newspaper on my page on Sunday. Since the title said 'Party till the wee hours' I got excited and clicked on it but nothing appeared. The next day I logged on to find that everything had changed.
My female friends alleged that I had stolen photos from their account and sold it to porn sites. Others had called me a 'porn addict' and many others left abusive messages. I immediately deactivated my account," said Shivam Shah, student (name changed).
Following this huge incident, many social media experts huddled up and debated if this would lead to the eventual downfall of Facebook now.
"Orkut fell in the same fashion. As much as Orkut officials claimed that Facebook had beaten it in popularity, many reports nail the fact that consistent hacking on the social networking site for over six months (before Facebook became popular) had led to its immediate downfall and eventual social death.
Facebook seems to be headed in the same direction, unless there is some sort of immediate and strict measures taken by Facebook," said Suhas Giri, a city-based popular social media expert.
Meanwhile, Facebook put up a set of guidelines for users who had either been hacked, or heard of such incidents. The official Facebook Security blog post said, "Security and safety are at the core of Facebook.
We have entire teams dedicated to building tools that give people even more control over their account, and specifically the way they access their information. In fact, many of our most talented engineers are working exclusively on creating a secure environment on Facebook."
Analysts further asserted that in spite of such incidents, users seldom bother taking the security measures seriously, until being personally victimised.
Thousands of users like Kamini and Shivam have decided to shun the habit of talking wall-to- wall and return to the good-old practice of talking to people face-to-face.
Top 3 spam links that helped hack accounts
'Bangalore police: Party till the wee hours, 11.30 PM ban lifted'. Clicking on this link leads you to a page with a
photo of a popular pub in town, with a caption questioning the user 'You really think this could happen?' After clicking on the link, the user's account is hacked and sends out a series of unstoppable torrents of XXX porn to all of the user's friends. Over 12,000 Bangaloreans reportedly fell for this spam.
'Date a stripper in Bangalore'. Clicking on this link automatically transfers all the photos from the user's account and posts them on a porn website. The link to this porn website is then set as the user's FB status message and posted on newsfeeds of all the user's friends. Over 500 Bangaloreans fell for this spam.
Popular Sandalwood actress raped and murdered Social media analysts suspect that this was a prank link created by a small group of users, following the fad of series of spam links posted through the course of the day. The link leads a user to various soft porn videos from South Indian movies, posted on www.youtube.com. Over 2,500 Bangaloreans fell for this spam.
Embarrassed users commit 'social suicide'
Over 700 Bangaloreans claim to have deleted their Facebook accounts and many have urged their friends to do the same. "I officially declared to my friends at college that I'd committed social suicide and have vowed not to ever join any social networking site," said Sandeep Jain, a Christ University student.
Another student from Jyoti Nivas College, who fell to an infamous hack claiming that a prominent Kannada film actress had been raped and murdered, claimed to be mortally scared of new media. "The same thing happened to me on Orkut three years ago.
My account got hacked and all my photos got pulled into a huge group called 'sexually active community in Bangalore'. I started getting requests to spend nights with strangers. Frustrated, I deleted my account.
People told me Facebook was safer. Now, this has happened to me once again. I'm off Facebook too now and I'm scared of the Internet altogether," said K R Rohini, a communications professional (name changed).