Facebook Malware: Are You Protected?

Category: Facebook

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.
Facebook Malware

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...

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Most recent comments on "Facebook Malware: Are You Protected?"

Posted by:

Laura Wojtowicz
17 Jun 2011

RE: computer Windows 7-64 bits. FACEBOOK

Ever since I joined Facebook, I have had nothing but trouble-privacy issues with my hotmail.com account settings, emails coming from fake Facebook*, dirt emails on dating singles and so on. The main issue I was dealing for about a month was I was getting duplicate posts, sometimes 4-5-6 of the same post from everybody. I told everyone in my Facebook,and everyone slowly stopped sending me posts. Also, I asked if anyone knew how to get into Facebook settings to stop all the Facebook emails going into my Windows Live email client (gmail.com)(because every time I would click onto that email, my Windows Live email client would crash). No one was able to give me the answer on that one. Lastly, I am receiving duplicates-4-6 of the same emails -not only from Facebook but other emails in my gmail account as well that is linked to Facebook through my Windows Live email client.

What I did: I cleaned out my inbox of all Facebook emails plus now my Facebook is up to date-which means I deleted all the old posts, and now I am receiving only 1 post. So far good with Facebook. But I do not know how long that will last. I still have the problem with the crashing of my Windows Live email client and duplicating emails.

I uninstalled the windows Live email client and rebooted, reinstalled and it didn't do any good.
I have Norton Antivirus, plus System Mechanic Professional's anti-malware along with System Guard. I have Norton running all the time, and the System Mechanic Professional run manually, however, the System Guard is on all the time.

My computer is a Windows 7-64 bit-I use Mozilla Firefox majority of the time--I avoid Internet Explorer unless updating needed is required through that browser. (as for my laptop Windows xp-for Windows Live email client--The uninstalled and reinstalled worked and it no longer crashes but still get duplicate emails). My internet provider is At&T wireless hardwire.

Any suggestions as to what is going on and what I can do to solve my issues with above?

Posted by:

Ricardo Banta
17 Jun 2011

Almost the same problem with my yahoo mail. It was sending an e mail to all my friends without my knowledge, I don't know how to clean it up, so decided to deleted my old account and create a new account and I'm also glad that it didn't infect my PC I'm using a 64 bit windows 7. Now I screened my friends in my Facebook carefully to keep me safe.

Posted by:

Vicki T
17 Jun 2011

Dearest Laura, I wish I had answers for you, but just wanted to post my sympathies and I hope Bob comes up with an answer for you. I deactivated my Facebook account the other day when I heard they are using "face recognition" software. Pretty much "big brother" sounding to me and there's just too much of a chance of picking up nasty malware, I refuse to use it. Good Luck, Vicki

Posted by:

19 Jun 2011

I can't quite figure out how my Facebook login email was hacked. My Facebook password and my email password are very different, yet it happened.
I ran Spybot S&D and Malwarebytes, and scanned with Symantec EndPoint. Neither found anything. I changed all passwords, but I am still unsure. Any idea how I can be sure my machine is clean?

Posted by:

21 Jun 2011

Checked out SafeGo. It's looks pretty good, realizing that it is still in Beta version. I added SafeGo to my Facebook page & will 'trial' it for awhile.

I have been considering deleting my Facebook account, since I have been very concerned about all of the issues, that go with a social network. Privacy being one of the top issues.

Had a very bad experience with my eBay account. I got 'hacked' & they were spamming everyone, using my Email address. I wasn't aware of this, since I don't use eBay often, but when I tried to access my account, I was denied. Had to talk with a person, to get things straighten out. Got it all cleared up, with one conversation. But, it taught me a valuable lesson. Be AWARE with everything you do on the Internet.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2011

Update: I realize that it has only been a couple of days running SafeGo, but I am impressed. I like being able to see, just what is going on with my Facebook account. It is easy to access & read. So far, I am very, very pleased with it.

Now, why doesn't SafeGo have an app for eBay???!!! I would really, really like that. }:O)

Thank you Bob, for the article & info about SafeGo. I frequently take your advice & try what you suggest.

Posted by:

23 Jun 2011

There are ways to protect your privacy on FB, disabling features that you'd rather NOT have. I hope this isn't against the rules here, but below are a couple of links to help you do just that.
FB's Privacy Guide: https://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php
Disable FB's "Open Graph": http://www.simplehelp.net/2010/04/22/how-to-reclaim-your-privacy-by-disabling-facebooks-open-graph/
Disable FB's "Facial Recognition": http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/08/disable-facebook-facial-recognition-photo-feature_n_873018.html

Posted by:

24 Aug 2011

Possible fb virus/ redirect -

Trying to log in to fb. Win 7 ultimate, ie9 also happens w/firefox. have uninstalled, reinstalled ie8, ie9 deleted history, cookies, temp, etc... system restore, different inet provider/connection, https:, sfc/scannow/ virus checker, everything is clean. fb acct accessible from other computers. Here's the response
it redirects to http://www.facebook.com/common/browser.php

You are using an incompatible web browser..

Sorry, we're not cool enough to support your browser. Please keep it real with one of the following browsers:■
Mozilla Firefox

Google Chrome


Microsoft Internet Explorer

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