I don’t know about you, but my Facebook account is a valuable part of my life. It’s the sole way I keep in touch with well over half the people I know, and if someone were to go on there and send nasty message to people, my social and professional lives would be in shambles.
That’s why I like to pay close attention whenever a Facebook virus alert is announced. Earlier today, Microsoft announced that a new Facebook virus was making the rounds. Like many other viruses, this Trojan was masking as a legitimate Google Chrome or Firefox extension.
Although the Trojan was first detected in Brazil, Microsoft is predicting that it could soon make its way around the world – in fact, it’s already done so, albeit in smaller numbers than the Brazil infection rates.
Why the virus is scary
Here are a few things the new Facebook-based Trojan can do:
-Identify when the infected computer is logged into a Facebook account
-Download a configuration file that includes a list of commands for the browser extension
-Take over near-total control of your Facebook account, including sharing content, posting, joining groups, chatting, and liking pages
-Post provocative messages onto others’ pages in the hopes that they’ll click on the link
-Update itself constantly in order to avoid the wrath of antivirus programs and wary computer users
So far, the damage is mostly concentrated to computer users in Brazil, since the provocative messages are written in Portuguese. But if the provocative messages are anything like other common Facebook viruses floating around, it’s only a matter of time before an English speaker gets curious about why there’s a lady in a bikini dancing around on his Facebook and decides to click the link.
By the way, the primary provocative message posted so far reads:
GAROTA DE 15 ANOS VÃTIMA DE BULLYING COMETE SUICÃDIO APÃ“S MOSTRAR OS SEIOS NO FACEBOOK
VÃ¬deo no link abaixo:<Currently unavailable link>
Which in English translates to:
“15 YEAR-OLD VICTIM OF BULLYING COMMITS SUICIDE AFTER SHOWING HER BREASTS ON FACEBOOK.
Video on the link below: <Currently unavailable link>”
It also sends chat messages to friends that say things like “Sorry guys, but this is ridiculous”, or “Got a brand new Celta paying R$13 per day!!”
The virus is only a few lines of code from being modified to assault English-language speakers. In any case, keep an eye out for suspicious Chrome and Firefox add-ons, and be sure to only install software from trusted sources.
How to avoid the virus
Only install plugins from the official Chrome website or the official Firefox website. To be extra careful, only download plugins that have lots of downloads, reviews, and good ratings: don’t take a chance by installing a brand new plugin that doesn’t have any testimonials. You never know when you’ll accidentally click on a virus.