Facebook Malware: Are You Protected?
Almost since its inception, Facebook has been fertile ground for hackers and phishers. Today, with 600 million members, Facebook is experiencing a torrent of malware attacks. Learn some of the methods most commonly used by hackers and how to safeguard your Facebook account...
Protect Your Facebook Account From Malware Attacks
Phishing is all too easy on Facebook. Someone (you don't really know who) sends a friend request which you, of course, accept. Then he posts a tempting item on your Wall like, "Shocking video of Britney and J-Lo in a hot tub" with a link to the purported video. You click, and a fake YouTube page appears.
"Download the latest Flash player to view this video," a pop-up windows commands. Of course, you do. But what you really download is a malware program that hijacks your Facebook credentials. Then the malware hidden on your system spams all of your Facebook friends with similar bait, using Facebook email, news feeds, and chat. Your friends trust you, so they fall for the phish too. Thousands of Facebook accounts can be "clickjacked" in a very short time by this method.
Meanwhile, the malware is scouring all infected computers for other information it can use: bank account login info, Social Security Numbers, usernames and passwords, etc. All of this digital loot is bundled up and sent to the controlling hackers.
Facebook apps are another vector for malware. In April, 2011, many Facebook members received a message from a "friend" saying, "Hey, I just made a Photoshop of you!" A link in the message takes the user to an application installation window. The app requests access to your Facebook profile (name, gender, photo, lists of friends, user ID, etc.) and access to your Facebook Chat. If you click "Allow," the bogus app takes you to a Web site of weird images while it instantly spams your friends with the same offer.
M86 Security Labs reported that over 88,000 people clicked on that link per hour shortly after the attack was launched. An estimated 600,000 Facebook accounts were compromised.
Steps to Protect Your Account
To protect yourself from Facebook malware, there are several things you should do:
Choose your friends wisely. If you don't know the person who's sending a friend request, don't accept it carelessly.
Be skeptical of atypical messages from your friends. Does the writing style sound like your co-worker? Would Grandma really send you a link to Britney and J-Lo? Think before you click.
Avoid third-party apps that offer features Facebook does not sanction, like the ability to see who has viewed your profile or a completely fictitious "dislike" button.
Minimize the number of apps that have access to your Facebook profile. Before adding an app, do some online research to see if it's legit or a scam.
SafeGo is a legitimate Facebook app that prescreens links in Facebook email, news feeds, and chat. SafeGo was developed by BitDefender, a respected anti-malware developer, and will screen links against a constantly growing list of malicious Web sites and warns you before you click.
A bit of common sense and some helpful software should go a long way to help you avoid Facebook malware and scams.
Have you experienced any of these problems on Facebook? Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 16 Jun 2011
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Facebook Malware: Are You Protected? (Posted: 16 Jun 2011)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved