Viruses From Links on Facebook

Viruses often appear as links on Facebook and other social networking sites.

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Facebook, the Web's most widely used social networking website with more than half a billion registered users as of October 2011, is also a breeding ground for viruses and other malicious software. Viruses, often times appearing as links in a message or wall post, can spread from user to user and computer to computer if you don't take proper precautions to protect your Facebook account and your personal computer.

Related Searches: Koobface

The most notorious virus to hit Facebook has been the Koobface virus. In fact, so prolific has this virus become on the social networking site that developers have created an entire section in Facebook's Help Center to educate members about its dangers. Koobface posts malicious links on your profile and sends messages containing malicious links to your Facebook contacts, urging them to check out a new video. When you click on the link in the status update or message, you're redirected to a third-party website, which prompts you to download a new version of Flash to see the video. When you download the file, however, you're actually downloading malware that will cause your Facebook account to start sending out malicious updates and messages, spreading the virus even more.

Ex-Girlfriend Virus

A predecessor of the Koobface virus, the so-called Ex-Girlfriend virus hit Facebook in early 2010. The virus posted fake status updates on users' walls, with a tagline such as "My Ex-Girlfriend Cheated On Me... Here Is My Revenge!" Clicking on the link associated with the status update causes your Facebook account to post the malicious status update, potentially spreading the virus to anyone who clicks on the link from your profile.

Protect Yourself

To protect your Facebook account from viruses, always use a strong account password. Also, log in only from the Facebook homepage instead of clicking on links from an email; this is often a form of phishing, where third parties email you a message with a link to a corrupted Facebook login page. Logging in from one of these faux login pages gives the third party your login information, compromising your account security. Ultimately, protecting yourself from viruses launched by links on Facebook falls on you. Don't click on a URL that leads to a file ending in ".exe" or from a user you don't know well. If you do make the mistake of clicking on a virus, having strong anti-virus software on your computer can thwart the attack and keep the virus from infecting both your computer and your Facebook account.

How Facebook Protects You

Facebook contributes to the safety of its site by letting you report malicious links and users. If you report someone who's posting malicious material, such as virus-causing links, and Facebook validates the threat, that individual won't be able to post the malicious material in the future -- and the URL may be blacklisted by Facebook as well -- protecting both you and all of Facebook's other users. Using these tactics, Facebook says it has cut down on the number of virus threats.

ReferencesFacebook: What Is Koobface?Facebook: When I Try Posting a Link, I Receive an Error MessageDaily Finance: Facebook Viruses Make You (and Your Business) VulnerablePCWorld: Facebook Virus Turns Your Computer into a ZombiePhoto Credit Jupiterimages/ ImagesRead Next:

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