Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg appears to be the second high profile victim of a hacking attack on his own Facebook page, following a similar account takeover early this week targeting French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The page facebook.com/markzuckerberg sported an uncharacteristic message advocating that Facebook adopt a "social business" model, where profits are invested in areas such as health care for the poor and other charitable causes, according to a report on TechCrunch late Tuesday.
The message read: "Let the hacking begin: If facebook needs money, instead of going to the banks, why doesn’t Facebook let its users invest in Facebook in a social way? Why not transform Facebook into a ‘social business’ the way Nobel Price winner Muhammad Yunus described it? http://bit.ly/fs6rT3 What do you think? #hackercup2011," according to a screenshot captured by TechCrunch.
The hash tag included in the message references Facebook's Hacker Cup, an ongoing competition that award prizes to people who compete in algorithmic programming exercises centered around Facebook's services. The bit.ly link points to the Wikipedia page for "social business," but includes other elements including a message saying "thanksforthecup" and a link to the profile picture for the competition's Facebook page.
It appears that Facebook has taken down the page where the post appeared, although Zuckerberg has at least one other page online. Facebook representatives contacted in London said they had no immediate comment.
This is the second high profile apparent Facebook hack this week. Sarkozy's Facebook page displayed a message with poor grammar on Monday saying he would not run for re-election in 2012. The post was taken down.
The attack on Zuckerberg's page shows the vulnerability of many websites that use only a login and password over HTTP connections to protect accounts. Capturing those details is quite easy for hackers, who can rig websites with malicious software that gets automatically installed if a computer doesn't have the latest software patches for applications such as web browsers.
It is also possible for someone with access to the network infrastructure to intercept unencrypted passwords, as Facebook itself alleges happened in Tunisia ahead of the recent uprising there.