Social Media – Malware




“Throughout 2012, hundreds of millions of users flocked to social networks — and so did attackers.” states Sophos in their latest2013 Security report. Malware spreads through infected links that come in posts that our friends innocently share with us.

What is it?
Malware is malicious software.  Viruses, worms, and Trojan horses, are collectively known as malware, that can cause file deletion, identity theft, financial loss, misappropriation of our computer for use in a cyber attack .

How does my computer (It’s not just your computer desktop, it’s your smartphonestablets and any device thatcan connect to the internet.) get infected by Malware? 

The answer is very easily, unfortunately. It can come in the form of innocuous ads, Spam, Links, Clicking on PopUps that claim your computer is infected, and it is becoming increasingly common on Facebook. Malware spreads through infected links that come in posts that our friends send. Our friends are not aware the post they are sending is infected, but with the proliferation of sharing, Malware has a head start. Facebook has estimated there are about 83 million fake pages on the site; a mixture of innocent and malicious accounts.

What can I do to avoid infection? 
Web User Magazine suggests Bitdefender’s Safego Facebook App.  It states that the App “will protect you from infected links, and will also close any connections hackers have to your wall and news feed to ensure they’re clean, and rates your privacy level from ‘poor’ to ‘good’ “.

Also Norton Safe Web. “This scans all the links posted in the last 24 hours and tells you which are safe to click and which maybe infected with malware.  Both these Apps can be shared with friends to protect them also”.

MyPageKeeper App  is a free Facebook app that continually monitors wall posts and news feeds for malicious content. If the app suspects that any content may contain spam or malware, it alerts you and gives you the ability to remove it.

The InfoSec Institute have compiled a very detailed post on different types of worms, preventions and cures that is worth reading. I have aimed this post for less advanced users of social media.

Quick Tips!

  • Protect yourself by using strong passwords
  • Don’t use an unsecured wifi connection
  • Beware of spammy message from a friend promising a “Free iPad” or “Free” airline tickets, or anything that seems too good to be true.
  • Be net savvy and don’t forward or click on links that  in posts that contain red-flag words and phrases like “free,” “wow,” and “OMG.”
  • Install an APP to protect you and your friends on a social network
  • Ensure your computer anti-virus software, patches and upgrades are up to-date.
  • Common sense – if in doubt, don’t spread it about.
  • Anti-virus protection measures are reactive only – they cannot foretell future viruses
  • Keep yourself informed of the threats that are out there.
  • Read up on Malware Checkpoint for Facebook 

Malware Patrol
URL Shorteners – How safe are they?
Twitter Support & Advice
Browser Extensions for shortened URL’s 
What can happen if I click on a suspicious link?
Mashable – Password Generators
Facebook Security on Malware
Facebook- Malware Help
Malware Checkpoint for Facebook Users

Clickjacking – A clickjacked page tricks a user into performing undesired actions by clicking on a concealed link.
A user might receive an email with a link to a video about a news item, but another valid page, say a product page on, can be “hidden” on top or underneath the “PLAY” button of the news video. The user tries to “play” the video but actually “buys” the product from Amazon.

Other known exploits include:

  • tricking users into enabling their webcam and microphone through Flash (which has since been corrected by Adobe);
  • tricking users into making their social networking profile information public;
  • making users follow someone on Twitter;[7]
  • sharing links on Facebook[8][9]

Likejacking – Likejacking is a malicious technique of tricking users of a website into posting a Facebookstatus update for a site they did not intentionally mean to “like

Definitions and information courtesy of Wikipedia

Sophos also reminds that Google’s mobile OS, Android, which now controls a large chunk of the smartphone market, has become a great platform for malware.

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