PALO ALTO, Calif.—A Facebook group that has been adding members at a fast clip is apparently a scam that ultimately sends people to a site that contains porn and, even worse, a lot of vicious malware. The techosphere is on full alert regarding the problem, which came to light only recently, even though the group has already amassed about 133,000 members.
The problem was brought to light only yesterday by designer Ben Pieratt, who posted it to his blog, General Projects. “Looking at my news feed this morning on Facebook, I noticed that my sister-in-law had joined the “WE’RE AGAINST THE 4.99 A MONTH CHARGE FOR FACEBOOK FROM JUNE 30TH 2010” group. Surprised that I hadn’t heard anything about this new charge, I clicked through to find out what it was all about. The group has no content other than its title and a reference to an external URL (which I won’t be linking to).”
No such pending Facebook fee exists, says mxlogic.com, and “the only link posted on the group's page sends users to a well-known shock site, which hijacks browsers and attempts to download 25 items onto the affected computer. The shock site displays rapid-fire images of pornographic and obscene images and sounds, appearing to shake the screen around and making it impossible to close the hijacked browser and requiring the victim to restart his or her machine to end the flood of offensive images and sounds.”
According to a commenter on General Projects, “Apparently the destination URL is a 4chan dumping ground for pissing people off and I’m a total noob.” Which means the commenter didn’t realize what was happening until it was too late.
It appears, however, that as of midday Tuesday the group no longer exists, though there has been no official comment from Facebook regarding the malware group that somehow garnered 133,000 members.