The Anonymous group has appeared to make social networking giant Facebook its next target with a new video.
While it is unclear whether the video is a genuine call to arms against Facebook or simply a member with a vendetta, it claims that ‘Facebook has been selling information to government agencies and giving clandestine access to information security firms so that they can spy on people from all around the world'.
The two minute video, which can be viewed here, also said that ‘everything you do on Facebook stays on Facebook, regardless of your privacy settings' and that ‘deleting your account is impossible even if you delete your account, all your personal information stays on Facebook and can be recovered at any time'.
It ended with a message that said: “One day you will look back on this and realise what we have done here is right. Think for a moment and prepare for a day that will go down in history.”
It called on other activists and those keen to protect privacy to join the cause to bring Facebook down on November 5th this year ‘to kill Facebook for the sake of your own privacy'.
Despite media requests for clarity on whether the video is genuine or not, Anonymous had not responded at the time of writing on either its Twitter feed or via its Anonops blog page.
Speaking to SC Magazine about the threat, Imperva CTO Amichai Shulman said that these announcements are often a call to arms.
He said: “I don't have reason to believe that it is not true, maybe they are trying to build up momentum as they will need a lot of horsepower. They may be able to disrupt specific servers on a geographical basis but they may need more people to interrupt the service.
“It will be very hard to bring them down and most likely they will share toolkits, but my guess is that they are trying to create momentum to recruit. If they had people why would they wait until November 5th? My guess is that they will target specific geographical regions.”
Rik Ferguson, director of security and research at Trend Micro, agreed that the video should be treated with suspicion for now, as it was posted almost a month ago and had not been widely publicised on the usual Anonymous channels.
He said: “The biggest and most important point though is this. Facebook is voluntary. You join Facebook because you want to. You provide information of your own volition and essentially at your own risk.
“If Facebook does know more about you than your own family, it is only because you told them. Conversely, while the social networking provider does provide relatively granular controls over how and who you share your data with, it is certainly my opinion that the default settings on an account are still too open and the mechanisms for controlling sharing are too complex.
“Posting information anywhere online is similar to pasting up a notice in a global meeting hall and should be treated in that way. Even if you restrict access to your information to only your friends, you cannot control how that information is further shared by people within your circle of trust.”
If the video does prove to be a fake, it would not be the first time that the hacktivist's lines of communication have been duped. Back in February, a statement appeared threatening Westboro Baptist Church and instructing it to cease and desist its protest campaign in the year 2011 demanding they 'return to your homes in Kansas and close your public websites'.
The statement was enough to warrant a response from the church and a few days later an Anonymous spokesperson denied that it was directly responsible, with pro-US hacker The Jester claiming responsibility and mounting a lengthy denial-of-service campaign.