The sharp end of a Facebook hack

Our IT editorial team got a first-hand taste of a Facebook hack this week, after one of our colleague's account on the social network site was hacked

Tags: Cyber crimeFacebook IncorporationSocial networking
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By  Mark Sutton Published  November 27, 2008

Our IT editorial team got a first-hand taste of a Facebook hack this week, after one of our colleague's account on the social network site was hacked.

Several of our editors received a message through Facebook from the hapless colleague, claiming he was on a trip to London, but had been mugged, and was now marooned without passport or cash somewhere in North London.

Naturally they replied straight away, and promptly got into an IM chat through Facebook's own messaging client, with what they thought was their friend. It was only when another colleague who had heard of this method of attack warned them that they realized what was going on, and discovered that the 'victim' was actually safe and sound in Dubai.

What was most disturbing about the hack was the quality of response from the hacker posing as the colleague. The chat messages were in text speak, but convincingly written - it was not the usual semi-literate 419 scammer - and also used details gleaned from Facebook to make the response sound a lot more convincing. As a trusted site, it's also a lot more believable to get a message through Facebook than if it was just a random email.

The message from vendors all year has been that cyber crime has morphed from teenage hackers to organized gangs, and this attack shows just how organized, cunning and convincing they can be.

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