The Automation Labs Facebook security scare

Filed Under: Facebook, Privacy, Social networks, Video

A warning being sent between Facebook users is causing an almighty scare, as it raises alarm that strangers might be able to access your profile.

The warning claims that entering your Privacy Settings on Facebook, and hunting for "Automation Labs" under Block Users, will display approximately 20 people you don't know.

A typical version of the warning reads as follows:

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!

And it's true, you will see about 20 names - however, it doesn't mean that they have any kind of special access to your Facebook profile and your security has not been breached as I explain in the following video:

(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like)

As you can see, 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 - but there are real security issues on Facebook, as with any other social network. Make sure you read our guidelines for better security and privacy on Facebook.

Oh, and you might want to become a Fan of Sophos on Facebook too!

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About the author

Graham Cluley is an award-winning security blogger, and veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.