Social Networking is Not Virus Free

Facebook, and other social networking sites on the internet have become more and more popular over the last year or so as ways of staying in touch with friends, family, and even old school mates who you never thought you’d hear from again. People use them to let others know what’s going on, arrange get togethers, send messages, chat real time and play games. The warning to everyone now is that they are not virus free!

Ankit Fadia a well known ethical hacker and cyber expert is one of the people who has recently started warning people about the risks of downloading anything via Facebook. Simply clicking to download something this way could allow a virus to get in and infect your system.

This latest method hackers and cyber criminals are using to invade people’s computer systems began a few months ago, and has been increasing since then. What happens is that you might receive an e-mail through the Facebook system from an anonymous sender. You click the e-mail and a pop up box appears asking you if you want to download something ‘yes’ or ‘no’. If you click ‘yes’ a trojan virus is downloaded on to your system and at the same time, the same message that you received initially, is sent on to everyone in your contact list. Each time someone clicks on the ‘yes’ button, the virus spreads further, and another system becomes infected.

Once a Trojan virus is installed on your computer, it opens up the access for cyber criminals and hackers to get in there at which point if they want to, they can trash your system so you can’t use it, or simply try to stay hidden and gain access to your passwords, see what sites you’re accessing, steal your banking details or personal details, and anything else that might be on your computer system, so you could find yourself with someone fraudulently claiming to be you to get credit or buying things on your credit card, or just emptying your bank account.

Older methods of getting viruses onto people’s systems via spam e-mails are still being used, but the more popular the social networking sites become, the more likely it is that cyber criminals will follow in their footsteps, utilise these new methods, and people will be targeted this way.

It is possible to avoid getting a virus through Facebook, just as it is through a rogue e-mail. All you have to do, is quite simply avoid clicking on any anonymous messages in Facebook, and never download anything either. Say ‘no’ to downloads and you’ll be saying ‘no’ to viruses too. It is this mistake of clicking ‘yes’ which gives the virus a chance to establish itself on your system and therefore gives the hackers and cyber criminals a chance to do their thing too. If you don’t give the virus a point of access by clicking ‘yes’ then it can’t infiltrate your system.