Facebook, and other social media sites, have become an important part of our business and personal lives but they are also a goldmine for hackers and cyber criminals looking to get hold of valuable personal data. The latest scam taps into that desire that we all have to be shocked – the kind that means you can never look away from a car crash or stop watching reality TV. Scammers are using this approach to encourage people to share their scams and hand over personal details on the promise of shocking sights in return.
Normally, this video malware is presented to a user as a ‘shocking video’ that will ‘make your jaw drop in amazement.’ Does that sound tempting? Of course it does, who doesn’t want to be amazed. Sometimes, this is qualified by some explanation of what the link supposedly contains, for example something shocking happening on a beach or in the street – you may well have seen such posts pop up. Normally, in order to access the shocking video footage, you’re required to click on an ow.ly shortened URL, which then takes you through lots of different redirections until you end up on a malicious website. Continue to follow the steps and the website will check which platform you’re on, before either asking you to download a piece of software (often a Flash player update) or issuing pop up ads.
If you do this then you introduce a Trojan into your system that copies itself and starts downloading video player extensions from a remote server. The result is that these allow pornographic video content to be posted to your Facebook profile, as well spamming anyone you’re connected to with the links that you fell for, in order to try and get them to do the same.
So, how do you avoid this unpleasant infection? Well, it’s really quite simple – don’t click on the links. Remember that there really is no such thing as a free lunch – or a free iPad or car – and if you’d won the lottery you wouldn’t have to click on a link to collect your winnings. Don’t download any software updates, other than from bona fide sites, and find an ad blocker to stop the pop ups. You should have good antivirus software in place and you can manually check on Facebook for any apps you didn’t intentionally install by looking in the Applications tab.
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