Security Scare Warning on Facebook's Birthday
Article by George Norman
On 04 Feb 2010
Precisely 6 years ago, on the 4th of February 2004, the now hugely popular social networking site Facebook came to be. At the time Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates Eduardo Saverin, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, launched Facebook as network meant for Harvard students. Originally located at, the social networking site was later expanded to other universities and eventually it was released to everyone in the world.

Only 6 years have passed and Facebook is now the most popular, the biggest social network on the web today. Just to put things in perspective, there are more than 350 million Facebook users – and those figures are not exactly up-to-date, they’re from December. Leaving figures aside, there is just one thing we have to say: Happy B’day Facebook!


Sadly though there is some bad news to report as well. There is a warning message that’s making the rounds on Facebook and scaring gullible users. Here’s a version of this message:

All FB friends. This is important. Do this asap! Go to settings. Click on privacy settings. Click on block users. in the name box enter 'automation labs'. A list of approx 20 people you dont even know will come up. Block each one individually. These people have access to your facebook account/profile and spy on what You do!

It is true that the social networking site has a search facility in its "Block people" interface. It is also true that if you do what the warning message says, you will see about 20 names. But these people do no have access to your account. This is nothing more than a chain letter spreading fast on Facebook.

“This is a scare and the people distributing the warning are actually forwarding a chain letter without checking their facts. *Whatever* name you search for Facebook will make suggestions for you as to who you might want to block, it *doesn't* mean that those people currently have access to your Facebook profile. So, the "Automation Labs" scare is a storm in a teacup,” commented Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant with Sophos, company that specializes in providing antivirus, anti-spam, spyware removal software, network and internet security, data protection, and computer security solutions.

Cluley has taken the time to put together a video detailing how Automation Labs Facebook scare is just that…a scare. You can watch the video on YouTube here.

Tags: Facebook, Social networking, Sophos, Security
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
You can follow him on Google+, Facebook or Twitter

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