Monday, February 9, 2009

Warning! New Facebook virus may take over your computer

And that's not a joke.

According to reports from TechCrunch, most viruses floating around Facebook have, up till now, been merely annoying. They've included malicious software packets aimed at gathering user data for phishing scams to inboxes filled with spam.

But a newer sophisticated malware package aims at infiltrating Facebook users' computers with the goal of takeover.

The Trojan software comes in the form of a worm that spreads through an infected user's account via messages entitled, “LOL. You’ve been catched on hidden cam, yo:” and a link to a random URL.

The linked website is a YouTube-like page (see below) that shows a video player along with what looks like a standard browser message to update your Flash installation. Clicking on the button begins a malware installation of a file called “codecsetup.exe.” According to technicians at TechCrunch, clicking on the exe will likely result in your computer being controlled by a remote user.

Bottom line: If something seems suspicious, it usually is. Don't click on a link that doesn't look kosher.

Additionally, TechCrunch said, "A nasty feature of the worm is that it takes the profile picture of the sending infected user and adds it to the linked website. This makes it all look much more legitimate for the potential victim."

Unfortunately there's little Facebook can do to combat these scams except to try to filter the web links associated with the malicious software.

The takeaway is this... All this is not new. The bad guys are targeting an entirely new user group on Facebook the same way they did to MySpace years ago. The best course of action is to be careful. When in doubt, don't open the attachment. If it looks suspicious, it probably is.


Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon National Guard Emerging Media Manager

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