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Watch Out: Facebook Messenger’s Got a Virus

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13 / 09 / 2017

Watch Out: Facebook Messenger’s Got a Virus

At the end of August 2017, a new virus attack was detected on the web. It appeared to be circulating on Facebook Messenger, and its current cross-platform campaign affected macOS, Linux and Windows, Kaspersky Lab Security reported.

In this attack, cyber criminals use Facebook Messenger to send a message to a "friend." Users follow the fake link (Friend's name Video) and after multiple redirects, silent malware is installed on the user's computer.

How Facebook Messenger virus works

First, the user receives a Facebook inbox message that looks like it was sent by a friend. The catch is this message contains a “bit.ly” fake video link. Next, after clicking this link, the user is redirected to a Google doc, which displays a dynamically generated video thumbnail, based on the sender's image. Finally, after clicking that image, the user is redirected to another customised landing page and the user's computer becomes infected.

How malware affects MacOS users

While browsing Safari, the user may end up with a web page displaying a fake Flash Player update notification. Clicking the Update button activates a hidden adware install. The same technique is used for a fake Flash Media Player update, which downloads a macOS executable .dmg file. This can also activate an adware install.

Malware may also infect a Mac through Google Chrome. Sometimes users are redirected to a website that pretends to be YouTube. It resembles the world-known video service with a recognizable YouTube logo. But this is fake, just as the fake error message popup, suggesting the user download a Chrome extension from the Google Web Store. Here’s the trap: when the user clicks to download this extension, malware is installed and attacks the Mac.

How to keep yourself safe

To avoid becoming a virus victim, we recommend you use caution when watching videos on Facebook Messenger. Verify the video link received, even if it is sent by a friend. Also, running up-to-date antivirus software is highly recommended for macOS users. Remember, you can always rely on MacKeeper’s Internet Security feature, which keeps your browsing safe and secure, protecting your Mac from phishing scams, malware, adware, and other threats.