Koobface: Facebook’s Latest Battle

facebookEarlier this week my Facebook inbox greeted me with a friendly mail notification, from a long lost “friend” whom I haven’t spoken to in ages. In the email, was a link, telling me I look awesome in this video.

At first I was flattered. I mean, who wouldn’t be? A long-lost friend managed to find me, tape me, and somehow managed to capture my “awesomeness” in a video? It seemed too good to be true. And, it also seemed like a hoax.

By now, we’re all familiar with the MySpace viruses– so much so that Tom and his crew over at FIM have had to warn you (Facebook has followed suit) whenever you are clicking a link that takes you off their site. It only seemed like a matter of time before Facebook got hit with their first real gem of a virus– and it’s name is Koobface.

PC World writer, Brennon Slattery describes the virus’ behavior:

Once the URL is clicked, “Koobface” prompts you to update your Flash player before the video can be displayed. Therein lies the virus, cloaked in a “flash_player.exe” file. According to the Kaspersky Lab, an antivirus organization working closely with Facebook, “the worms transform victim machines into zombie computers to form botnets.”

The McAfee Security Blog explains that when “Koobface” infects your computer, it prompts a downloaded service named Security Accounts Manager (SamSs) to load on start-up. SamSs then proxies all HTTP traffic, stealing results from popular search engines and hijacking them to lesser-known search sites.

For many users, “Koobface” will come as a wake-up call about internet safety. Many of us go about our daily internet lives convinced we know which sites are safe– and, I’d bet you’d be hard pressed to find a user who thinks MySpace is safer than Facebook– but all it takes is a few clicks for a your personal computer (and information) to become a thing of the past. Who knows, maybe will double as the perfect opportunity to remove all those pseudo-friends on your Facebook friends list, you know, just to reduce the risk of infection.

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