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Facebook Reports Malware Attack

Mike Musgrove

Facebook is warning about a couple of scams directed at its users over the last few days.

One nasty bit of malicious software attempts to lure users in with messages ranging from "You've been catched on hidden cam" to "Paris Hilton Tosses Dwarf On The Street." The messages contain a link that can take unsuspecting users to a Web page that looks like it's on YouTube. The page tells visitors that, to view the page's video, they need to click on another link to download and install updated software. Those who fall for the scam are actually installing malicious software on their systems.

The worm, called "Koobface," turns compromised computers into "zombie" machines that can be used in other types of online attack. The malicious software may also include "keylogger" software which can records a computer user's keystrokes -- and potentially grab passwords when they are entered on a computer. The scam is also circulating on MySpace.

Alexander Gostev, senior virus analyst at computer security firm Kaspersky Lab said in a statement that this type of attack could be a successful one for hackers. "Users are very trusting of messages left by 'friends' on social networking sites. So the likelihood of a user clicking on a link like this is very high", he said.

Facebook has also been alerting users to a hoax message going around the site claiming that the site is overpopulated and that some accounts will soon be deleted.

Facebook's security page offers a few common-sense suggestions for those worried about security. ("If a link or a message seems weird, don't click on it," is one tip.) The company is still investigating the malware attack, according to a PR person who responded to a query Monday.

According to research firm Cloudmark, users of social networking sites are reporting that spam is on the rise. Users have reported an average of 64 spams over the last year, and 37 percent of users have noticed an increase in the number of unwanted messages received in the last six months.

By Mike Musgrove  |  August 25, 2008; 4:48 PM ET  | Category:  Mike Musgrove
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