If you see a post on Facebook that claims the US just attacked Saudi Arabia and Iran, don’t believe it. And please, whatever you do, don’t click the link. It’s just another Facebook scam, reports Graham Cluley at Sophos’ Naked Security blog. This time, rather than playing on users’ desire for free iPads and get-rich-quick schemes, the swindlers are exploiting fears of impending doom.
The nefarious post reads: “U.S. Attacks Iran and Saudia Arabia. F**k :-(. [LINK]. The Begin of World War 3?” The link goes to fake CNN news page, which includes a video. But if you click to play the video, a prompt appears on the screen, saying that you need to upgrade to a new version of Adobe Flash. Instead of an update, clicking “Yes” installs malware on your computer. According to Cluley, Sophos security researchers found that the virus installs the Troj/Rootkit-JV on Windows-based machines.
As of February 3, when the scam was first discovered, more than 60,000 Facebook users had been fooled into clicking the link. That was three days ago (as of this writing), and it is not currently known the number of computer that have been infected.
Facebook scams are, of course, a common occurrence. Just last month, a different ploy sought to fool users into giving up a trove of personal data, including their credit card numbers and billing addresses. And last November, a particularly nasty bit of malware flooded users’ New Feeds with graphic images of sex and violence.
Obviously, it is extremely important that you closely scrutinize any link you click, especially ones that claim to deliver unlikely things, like cash, a job, or the US unilaterally going to war with one of its closest allies in the Middle East. If you think you may have clicked some sketchy links recently, run your anti-virus software. If you don’t have anti-virus software, we recommend Lavasoft’s Ad-Aware Free Antivirus as a good free option. And just to make sure your Facebook account is free of nefarious characters, install Bitdefender’s Safego app for Facebook, which will scan your friend list and links on your News Feed, and let you know if there’s anything there to avoid.