As February draws to a close, Facebook pranksters are trying to sneak in a few extra days and drum up some online havoc.
Wall posts are spreading virally through Facebook right now, claiming that the site will be "closed for maintenance from Feb. 29 – 31, 2011!" the security firm Sophos reported.
Tiny problem, however: There is no Feb. 29 this year and there is never a Feb. 30 or 31. The prank is simply playing into people’s fears that their beloved social networking site will be inaccessible.
Although Sophos notes that there is no malicious aspect to this prank — no rogue software attachments or password-stealing Trojans — just the fact that it’s spreading points to a dangerous trend among Internet users.
"Our collective willingness to pass on Internet cruft (poor quality Web information) without so much as a critical glance is exactly the sort of behaviour which helps out cybercrooks," Sophos wrote in a blog post.
Security professionals warn Facebook users to be cautious of wall posts and messages that urge you to take immediate action, and to be wary of links embedded in messages, even from friends.