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Facebook slammed for exposing alleged Koobface hackers

An Internet security firm has criticized Facebook for releasing details of the alleged members of a gang behind the Koobface worm, a piece of malicious software that attacked hundreds of thousands of computers through the social network’s profiles.

social media Updated: Feb 09, 2012 17:44 IST

An Internet security firm has criticized Facebook for releasing details of the alleged members of a gang behind the Koobface worm, a piece of malicious software that attacked hundreds of thousands of computers through the social network’s profiles.

In an unusual step in January, Facebook named six Russian men it said had been running the two million dollar scam against its members for the past three years.

It published photographs of the group and pinpointed their office in central St Petersburg, saying it had acted out of frustration at the fact that law enforcement agencies had apparently failed to investigate the Koobface gang.

The anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab has criticised Facebook’s strategy, saying the attempted naming and shaming of the gang will probably mean they will never be arrested for their alleged crimes.

“Naming and shaming can stop companies like Facebook really dealing with things like Koobface. I''m questioning whether these guys will ever get arrested now,” The Telegraph quoted Stefan Tanase, a senior security researcher at the firm, as saying.

Tanase said the men were publicly identified, and now the Koobface gang had deleted online traces that allowed investigators to track them down. This made evidence gathering more difficult.

“Yes, it hurts investigations. When criminals find out they are being investigated, they will be doing everything they can to preserve their freedom,” he added.

Kaspersky’s remarks were echoed by another anti-virus firm, F-Secure, which said naming and shaming “undermines any efforts to get these guys arrested”.

The Koobface computer worm first emerged in 2008 and spread itself by sending fake messages on Facebook and other social networks to its victims’ friends.