Many a Virus Targets Facebook Users

Written by:  • Edited by: Tricia Goss
Updated Nov 8, 2010
• Related Guides: Malware | Facebook Games | Facebook

Did you receive an email with a link saying someone caught you on camera and uploaded the image on Facebook? If you click on the link, you open your computer’s gate to malware. This article talks about known Facebook virus attacks and how to protect your computer from possible threats.

Facebook Virus – Why Facebook?

Fig 1 - Facebook Virus - Staying Safe on Facebook 

Facebook Virus: If you have a face on Facebook, you are an easy target for a Facebook virus. Almost everyone, be it an expert user or a novice, has a Facebook account. What started as a small social networking site five years ago is now a multi-billion website with approximately 500 million active users as of July 2010.That there are plenty of pages, applications, games, and luring ads on Facebook and you feel the urge to try many of them. With such a grand base, the bad guys need not look any further if they want to gain entry into different computers. The games, applications, pages, and ads can be a trap inviting malware into your computer.

Methods to Spread Facebook Virus

The bad guys, or hackers as we call them technically, use both internal and external tactics to gain access to your computer. The internal method is easy. Create a luring application and insert a malicious code or merge a malware code into a video embedding code and then post it on Facebook. When you click on the link to play the video or to open the application, the code downloads malware to your computer. As there is no restriction on creating applications, anyone can create such applications/games for use with Facebook. Though Facebook might remove suspicious applications, ads, and posts after receiving complaints, it may be too late.

The other method is to send emails to Facebook subscribers. Most of the people post their email addresses and smartphone numbers on their Facebook profile. This makes them easy targets for Facebook virus and worms. Read Dealing with Facebook Security Problem for basic information on keeping your Facebook account safe.

The most basic way to avoid a virus or any other malware is to avoid any post, video, page or application that looks out of this world. You can still have fun on Facebook, but it is wise to read user reviews of Facebook games before trying them. An example of recently video spread virus was titled, “Sexiest Video Ever." This is not available anymore on Facebook, but you need to be careful should anyone send the link via email. The next sections will talk about different known Facebook viruses and methods to deal with them.

Note: The founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg says that there is no option of screening new applications before they go live as Facebook is meant to be an open space. This increases the risk of Facebook virus and other malware.

Stop Facebook Virus – Use the Like Button Sparingly

Fig 2 - Facebook Virus - Like It Button 

You have probably used the Like button on Facebook. However, the same Like button that you used to show your appreciation for a post can now pose a threat to your computers. The most recent threat was a page saying “This Girl Committed Suicide after Her Dad Posted This on Her Wall" (see image). Obviously, this page creates curiosity and many people click the link to get more details. The page asks you to click on the Like button before you can access the details. Once you click the Like button, down goes the malware into your computer. You can get more information about the page at bypassFanpages website.

See more information about Likejacking at How to Avoid Facebook Scams.

This might scare you from clicking on the Like button even on your friends’ posts on their walls. However, you need not worry much. Just take some precautions and you should be safe. If the wall post is something typed in manually, you can always Like It without any fear. If your friend shares a page, check the origin of the page. You can click the original link to see where it goes and what steps it requires. If it is a normal page, it will open up without any additional requests. Other pages ask you to click on additional links before they present information. If you encounter such a scenario, it is better to close the window than to click on the additional links. It is clicking the additional links that downloads malware. So far, no Facebook page has been reported to download malware just by clicking the initial link (videos are an exception).

The next page looks at more Facebook virus that spread using videos, external Unlike It buttons, emails, and so forth.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Email to a friend