POSTED: Wednesday, March 4, 2009 - 8:01pm
UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:57pm
A virus appears to have been altered to target social networking sites. For Rachel Zambito and Isabella Walker a day without Facebook, well there isn’t one. Walker says, “I’m completely obsessed with Facebook.” Zambito says, “Five times a day, basically every free moment I have.” But lately something has got them worried, “I’ve been getting random messages from people saying they’ve seen me naked.” “That I need to lose 20 pounds and that I have to click on it.”
They’re not the only ones. Computer expert Brett Funk says the links are in fact a virus in disguise, designed to attack members of social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace in the sneakiest of ways. “You’re trusting that the content is safe so you’re not on guard as much as you would be if you were downloading something from a random webpage.”
The worm works by sending out provocative messages enticing the unsuspecting to view a video. The only way you can watch it is by downloading what appears to be an updated version of Adobe Systems’ Flash Player. “It’s a popular name; everyone knows Adobe Reader and uses Flash.” Once a user is tricked, the virus opens up a doorway for disaster, allowing spyware and more viruses to take over and blocking anti-virus sites that would typically fix the problem.
Clicking on the bogus link not only puts your computer at risk, it gives the virus open access to everyone on your contact list. Funk says that’s why the virus has been able to cause so much damage. “If you’re getting an email from someone who you trust and you’re more likely to follow the instruction than if you get it from a stranger.” Funk says one indication your computer has been infected is if it is running at a significantly slower speed and suggests taking your computer to a professional before trying to fix it yourself.