Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Facebook's Recent Malware Flare-up

Koobface Rears Its Ugly Head ... Again

As one of the most popular social networking sites on the Internet, Facebook has attracted its fair share of attention from hackers and malware programmers. Hackers are pretty practical people, after all, so they target high-traffic sites where they'll have the biggest opportunity to do the most damage. That's why it's particularly important to be on your guard whenever you see strange-looking comments or links on your Facebook page -- chances are pretty good that you should avoid them or risk infection.


The latest worm to hit Facebook is called "Koobface," and it's the resurgence of a worm that originally made headlines in July. This piece of malware spreads itself through messages sent to friends of infected users. These messages direct the reader to look at a video, and when the user clicks the link to the video, they're told they need to update their version of Flash. If they click the link to download the update, they don't get a new version of Flash -- they install a worm that looks at your search queries and directs you to bogus sites.


Since Koobface surfaced about a week ago, Facebook has been working diligently to correct the problem: "We're working quickly to update our security systems to minimize any further impact, including resetting passwords on infected accounts, removing the spam messages and coordinating with third parties to remove redirects to malicious content elsewhere on the Web," a spokesman said in an email.


Facebook keeps a security blog that's worth reading -- it contains updates on new threats and valuable security advice. If you've been infected by the Koobface worm, they recommend doing an antivirus scan and resetting your Facebook password.  As ever, the most important thing you can do to combat malware is resist clicking on suspicious-looking links in the future.


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