The Unfriendly Friend Request

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Today we're going to look at a malicious program that seems to take its cue from the Facebook Freezers I've written about previously. In those cases, the aim is to get a Facebook account banned by repeatedly entering an incorrect password into the login form. Here, the intent is to make using your XBox the most annoying thing in the world.

Here is the program in question:

xboxfriend1.png

Don't be fooled by the whole "friend" thing. This is not your friend. Or at least, it isn't if it's pointing directly at you. Assuming the attacker fires it up - and they're not going to leave it sitting on the desktop doing nothing - this is what they'll see:

xboxfriend2.png

"Friend request spammer"? This isn't going to end well, is it? Sure enough, simply type in the name of the XBox Live user you want to target on the left, login to XBox Live with your own account using the button on the right and you can begin your mischief. We should see what some of those other buttons do first, though - let's check out the Avatar and Gamercard buttons. In any other program, these might be handy features - but given the "spam attack" nature of this executable it all takes on a slightly creepy stalkerish vibe.

With the Avatar Searcher, you can call up an image that the target uses as their Avatar on XBox Live, additionally giving you the ability to save said images.

Why would you do want to save these images? Who knows. Perhaps printing them out and pinning them to your wall, serial killer style is all the rage these days.


Avatar Searcher, originally uploaded by Paperghost.


The Gamercard Searcher performs a similarly creepy function, grabbing a list of your most recently played games and your gamerscore. Perhaps the potential spammer really wants to cackle with glee over every aspect of your gaming life before trying to ruin it.


Gamercard Searcher, originally uploaded by Paperghost.


Anyway, let's get to the reason we're all here - spamming. And lots of it.

Assuming the attacker knows your Gamertag, once they hit the "Spam" button, as long as your XBox is online you'll see a friend request appear at the bottom of your TV screen:

Rapidfire Spam Requests, originally uploaded by Paperghost.


Imagine your dismay, then, when it turns out the attacker has gone out for coffee, a hot date and a night on the town leaving the Friend Spammer switched on. It's not long before your mailbox notifier is repeatedly telling you that something is going horribly wrong:


My inbox, it's under fire, originally uploaded by Paperghost.

8 friend requests from the same person in about 30 seconds. Before the first minute is up, your XBox Live mailbox looks like this:


16 messages in under a minute, originally uploaded by Paperghost.


While it's somewhat touching that this person wants to be your friend so badly, it isn't doing your sanity - or your connection - much good. Based on comments we're seeing on numerous Youtube vids & hacking forums related to this program, the effects range from lag to the XBox dashboard slowing to a crawl or crashing altogether (mine didn't crash, for the record although it did become a little jerky when navigating menus). Additionally, some people report not being able to block communications with the spammers due to this happening when they try to do it:

xboxfriend8.png

...whoops.

Going into "Block Communications" will stop the messages from the user sending them to you (as long as you don't get the above error message) but one popular tactic seems to be queuing up multiple spam accounts in Virtual Machines then hitting you with a never ending series of spam messages. It seems setting your status to "Away" will also block these unwanted messages wholesale, so you might want to try that.

Hands up who else preferred it when gaming was just about shooting things in the face?

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Christopher Boyd published on August 28, 2009 2:04 PM.

Nine Days In July: Greed And Stolen IDs was the previous entry in this blog.

P2P Software And SMS Activation Codes is the next entry in this blog.

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