Friday, October 16, 2009

Social Network Viruses Still On The Rise

Social Networking web sites like facebook and myspace are used by more Internet users than any other medium in the world today. In fact, 4 out of 5 of us internet users over the age of 35 are logging onto a social networking website at least once a month according to the latest CNET statistics. Facebook is the new leader this month registering over 1 billion users (yup 10 digits) so its no wonder that they continue to be the target of choice by internet evil-doers.

The Koobface virus is nothing new but it continues to be the largest threat to social network web site developers and their users. I recently had an experience where this Koobface virus was sent to me on facebook. Lucky for me, ethical hackers are always a step ahead of evil hackers so I recognized the game right away.

Still, I thought it would be a good chance to run the virus in a virtual setting and show my readers what to look out for whille having fun on FB. As a search engine optimization professional, social networking web sites are an essential part of ranking well on google. That said, I frequent many of these sites. While on facebook, I received an email message from one of my facebook friends that was clearly out of character for that individual. That was my first tip that something wasn't right.

The Koobface virus, once it has infected your PC, gains access to your facebook friends and emails each of your friends a message with a link leading them to a web page to innocently download the same virus. It also hijacks your web browser, email and creates a general hostile environment across your network. Viruses are self-replicating. Koobface is spread by a network or by transmission to a removable medium such as a removable disk, writable CD, or USB drive. It may also spread by infecting files on a network file system or a file system that is shared by another computer. This is why the Internet and social media web sites are such a hot bed for this type of malware.

So enough chatter, here is what you're looking for...
You receive a facebook email message from one of your friends with a comment about "how great you look in this video" with a link to youtube .

You click on the link and then, whoops! The video has been moved? You are now being redirected to a hackers server.

Next you arrive at a web site that looks just like you tube but it isn't. You are then prompted to download and install the latest version of Flash before you can view the video.

The danger is that most people have been trained by now to only accept links in an email from people you know... well I know this person. So hopefully now you're a little smarter and a little wiser and I can go take care of my cold feeling like I've helped someone today :)
Until next time, happy surfing!
Bill @ gnidesign

1 comment:

Caitlin (Link Building Packages) said...

It's still a wonder for me that there are these people who are up to no good. No matter how many times we warn people of them, sadly, many people are still victimized by the viruses that they created. I do not believe that it can be stopped - unless users does not fall into their traps. By then, I guess they'd have a new modus operandi.