Facebook Virus Turns Your Computer into a Zombie

"Koobface" comes through an e-mail sent by one of your social networking site friends.

Hey, I have this hilarious video of you dancing. Your face is so red. You should check it out.

If you've received a message like that through Facebook or MySpace, you may have been exposed to the "Koobface" virus. "Koobface" comes through an e-mail sent by one of your social networking site friends inviting you to scope out a video.

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.

A clear eye for fraud will help you avoid this mess. You can usually spot phony e-mails by their titles. Kaspersky found the following: Paris Hilton Tosses Dwarf On The Street; Examiners Caught Downloading Grades From The Internet; You must see it!!! LOL. My friend catched you on hidden cam; Is it really celebrity? Funny Moments. My own "Koobface" attack came in an e-mail entitled, lool, yoour blushingg afce is so funny! Checkk out. Obviously, Paris Hilton never threw dwarves, and in all likelihood, my 26-year-old friend knows how to spell more than two words. These are clear indicators you're being attacked.

Facebook has posted instructions about how to remove the "Koobface" virus: give your computer an antivirus scrub-down and change your Facebook password.

This attack on the world's most popular social networking site and its 120 million users comes just weeks after Facebook won an US$873 million lawsuit against several people accused of hacking user accounts and spreading spam.

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Brennon Slattery

PC World (US online)
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