Larry BraunerLast Tuesday, Ellis Hamburger relayed what seemed to be a highly credible threat to permanently bring down Facebook on November 5, hardly an auspicious date, in Hacker Group Anonymous Vows To Destroy Facebook On November 5.

The following day, Ellis posted an update that  slightly mitigated that threat in Hacker Group Anonymous’ Leadership Disowns “Operation Facebook,” Only “Some Anons” Are Involved. He reported that the threat was issued only by a minority of the hackers within the Anonymous group and not by the group as a whole.

Ellis cautioned, however, that “nothing changes the fact that there are some talented hackers part of Anonymous that want to take down Facebook, even if the organization’s leadership does not condone it.”

Crafting Your Facebook “Plan B”

FacebookWhether hackers will actually succeed in destroying Facebook on November 5 as threatened or not, this is probably a good time to ponder the following three questions:

  1. How critical is the role that Facebook plays in your business or personal life? After all, the existence and viability of Facebook is far beyond your control or mine.
  2. What would you lose if Facebook were to close down permanently without or even with prior notice? Consider the ways in which you use Facebook, the many contacts you’ve made and all the social capital you’ve accumulated.
  3. How can you protect your interests by diverting or diversifying your networking and marketing efforts starting right now? This question, while the most important, is also the most difficult to answer, since Facebook offers numerous and unique benefits; the popularity of Facebook is much more than accidental.

What do you think? Comments are welcome.

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    14 Responses to “Whether Hackers from Anonymous Bring Down Facebook on November 5 as Threatened or Not”

    1. The Social Web Analyst on August 14th, 2011 8:57 pm

      Facebook (like most other networks), has their database backed up at a remote location. It would be silly to think that a hacker or hackers would be able to shut Facebook down permanently, so Facebook would have to start over again with a blank webpage. At most, they would only have it shut down, until Facebook retrieves the back up database.

    2. Larry Brauner on August 14th, 2011 9:14 pm

      Look what happened in Iran, but let’s suppose your right. What would happen if the hackers secured and published voluminous private data, in installments, of course. If Facebook proved to be that vulnerable, don’t you think that would destroy public trust?

    3. Debby Bruck on August 14th, 2011 9:29 pm

      Hello Larry ~ The surfers will scour the internet for thoughts on this issue because threats to security in every aspect of life today soars at an all-time high.

      The financial analysts warn people to diversity, not to put all eggs in one basket. How many times has your personal computer crashed and you’ve lost it all because you have not backed up your files?

      We can also personally store a copy of our phone numbers and contacts in the cloud. I’ve got contact lists in numerous email accounts, because the web used to be so unreliable. Do you remember dial-up?

      We can’t take things for granted, whether talking about national security, personal livelihood or neighborhood safety, or even potential natural disasters we must take precautionary measures in case of emergency.

      And, one other thought. Be careful where you post personal information that you don’t want spread around the neighborhood. Keep a low profile.

      So goods the web. Back it up!
      Your good friend, Debby

    4. Larry Brauner on August 14th, 2011 9:47 pm

      Hi Debby,

      Backing up is a good idea in general, but how do you back up all your Facebook relationships? You can’t.

      And as far as keeping a low file, that might be good advice for most people, but marketer need to keep a high profile.

      Thank you very much for participating Debby.

    5. Salvatore on August 15th, 2011 2:31 am

      Hi Larry

      Interesting questions: I think there is no real way to mitigate completely against the damage that losing Facebook would mean, any more than you could mitigate against losing Google.

      Here is another way of thinking about these questions, which may help people see this as the business calamity it might be to some online marketers: What if your city was bypassed by a new motorway, and your drive through truckers business was no longer accessible by your customers?

      You’d need to be an entrepreneur and look for the advantages and opportunities offered by the new business landscape. Hopefully you’d have seen it coming and already had your contingency plan in place. On the internet, you always have to see it coming and mitigate against it by having as many, diverse, independent sources of prospective customers as possible.

      If 90% of your business relies on some website that can change it’s rules without prior notice, then you are building it on quicksand. How many businesses have failed because they relied on Google Adwords, and were then banned? Or Google organic traffic, and then disappeared after “Panda”? How many will fail because all their eggs are in Facebook’s basket? Just as in the brick and mortar world many fail due to following the latest fad and following the herd - the property crash is just the latest example.

      Diversify or die! This has always been true and good advice.


    6. The Social Web Analyst on August 15th, 2011 6:09 am

      If this did occur, it would lower the public trust. But the public would bounce back, as it always does. 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

    7. Larry Brauner on August 15th, 2011 3:31 pm

      Thank you Sal for your excellent explanation of the matter.

      Social media diversification is essential as I explained in my March 2009 article, All Your Social Media Eggs in One Basket, offering six reasons “why not to marry your social media site.” Funny, I didn’t include that your site might close down as a reason. Make that #7.

      Even more important than social media diversification is paradigm expansion. You expand your paradigm to reflect the transience of all marketing resources.

      For example, you might direct people to subscribe to your contact list or to join your very own social networking site.

    8. Theresa Cahill on August 18th, 2011 11:47 am

      Hello Larry! It’s been a while since my last visit and my apologies. However, thank you for bringing this to my attention. While I do not hob nob in Facebook consistently, the idea that a single entity online could be brought to its knees is not that startling.

      I also appreciate the point you mention. Yes, they may have everything in a redundant and restore-able off site location, but dribs and drabs of one’s personal information… I’d never thought of that before. There’s a huge problem waiting to happen.

      Social sites come and go on almost a daily basis, but lots of individuals and entrepreneurs have Facebook accounts. Hmmmm… time to check those bios!

    9. Larry Brauner on August 18th, 2011 1:04 pm

      Hi Theresa and welcome back! There’s more involved than bios. I want to reiterate what I said to Debby, that you can’t back up relationships in the same way you’d back up data.

    10. "Backing Up" Our Facebook Relationships | Online Social Networking on August 21st, 2011 9:48 pm

      […] Whether Hackers from Anonymous Bring Down Facebook on November 5 as Threatened or Not […]

    11. Carrol Monnet on August 25th, 2011 5:06 pm

      I’m going to mark my calendar to see if this really happens. If Facebook went down it would not affect me much. I have never found I got much profitable traffic from Facebook, anyway.

    12. Small Business on August 25th, 2011 8:24 pm

      This group just shows that no one is safe on the internet. Money can not save your information online. Especially if it is all housed in one location like Facebook.

    13. Rebecca L. Simpson on September 1st, 2011 6:45 am

      Go to your Facebook Profile, Click on “Account” upper right hand corner. Click on “Account Settings” at the bottom of that page you will find where you can “Download a copy of your Facebook profile” I strongly suggest that you do that soon! I did.

    14. charles on October 14th, 2011 10:27 am

      At worst there will be an interruption of service for a while and possible data loss.
      Anonymous’s issue is that Facebook has sold and will most likely continue to sell personally identifiable information to third parties.
      If they are serious about hacking Facebook they would need to destroy all backups.
      Take down the DNS servers that are mirrored in multiple locations.
      They would have to have a very large Distributed denial of service attack base.
      While i agree that it is possible, i do not believe that it is likely.
      I would download a copy of your Facebook profile for your own records.
      The only other method i could expect is to hack the user database and change the passwords for all of the accounts via a script, then force backups to overwrite existing backups.
      Even then this would be remedied within hours as i am sure that there are offline backups of Facebook.

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