A new hoax has been infecting computers, making them send Facebook messages, spreading a virus.
So if you see a suspicious Facebook message from a friend, just be careful about what you are clicking on.
The new scam that is sweeping the social network sends out personalised hoax messages that include the recipient’s name, the word ‘video’, a ‘shocked’ emoji and, most importantly, a virus-ridden link.
If you click on the link you are then directed to various malicious sites including a fake YouTube channel and a false Flash Player installer depending upon what browser you use.
IT security researcher David Jacoby discovered the hoax and wrote about it in a blog post for Secure List.
This malware was spreading via Facebook Messenger, serving multi platform malware/adware, using tons of domains to prevent tracking, and earning clicks. The code is advanced and obfuscated.
The message uses traditional social engineering to trick the user into clicking the link.
The link points to a Google doc. The document has already taken a picture from the victim’s Facebook page and created a dynamic landing page which looks like a playable movie.
When the victim clicks on the fake playable movie, the malware redirects them to a set of websites which enumerate their browser, operating system and other vital information.
If you then download the malicious software you are linked to, your phone or computer will be further infected and filled with spam adverts.
Other victims have reported that the software infected their phone’s keyboard activity which could allow cyber criminals to steal your bank details.
Researchers are still trying to find out how exactly the virus spreads through using Facebook Messenger.
To stay safe online it is recommended that you avoid clicking suspicious links.
If you are unsure then reach out to the person who sent the message and if they didn’t send it, then advise them to switch their account credentials.
You can also report the spam messages to Facebook and update your antivirus software.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.