Facebook Takedown Threat Likely a Hoax

Dennis Faas's picture

Hackers calling themselves members of the Anonymous group claim they intend to take down Facebook on November 5th, 2011.

The threat was originally made in a video posted on YouTube several weeks ago, which now has more than a million viewers. Those who posted the video have since attempted to get other members of Anonymous to back the attack.

The video clip complains about Facebook's handling of personal data and its lack of privacy controls. It also attacks the site for allegedly handing over information to governments in the Middle East and North Africa. (Source: youtube.com)

It's difficult to tell if Anonymous is in fact behind the scheme. That's because the group, by definition, is made up of unknown individuals that act in a personal capacity. There are often disagreements between different members of the group. (Source: informationweek.com)

Guy Fawkes Connection to Attack Date

That said, the date of the alleged attack appears to be no coincidence.

Representatives of Anonymous often wear a Guy Fawkes mask when appearing at public events, a tactic that refers to scenes in the movie and comic book series 'V for Vendetta'. Guy Fawkes famously attempted to blow up the British Parliament building on November 5, 1605, an event that is marked by fireworks parties in the UK on that day each year.

It is notable that the clip has been uploaded through a user account with no previous videos, and the Twitter account it links to has only one post. These two facts, critics say, suggest the post likely to be a hoax.

There's also been little or no mention of the supposed attack on the social network accounts or websites that are more commonly used by Anonymous members. Though it's also possible the clip comes from Anonymous members acting on their own initiative. (Source: theregister.co.uk)

Distributed Denial of Service Attack: A Possibility

In all likelihood, a the attack vector used to bring down Facebook would be a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). This involves numerous computers being used to flood a web site with bogus requests, to a point where the server can no longer adequately respond to genuine users visiting the site.

Such an attack would likely be more difficult to pull off with a site as large as Facebook, which is already configured to deal with a huge number of visitors. (Source: ibtimes.com)

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