How to Remove the Cross-Platform Facebook Messenger Malware - news nch

Friday, September 22, 2017

How to Remove the Cross-Platform Facebook Messenger Malware

You might use it to keep in touch with friends and family — perhaps a bit of after-hours banter with your co-workers. It’s not uncommon to follow your favorite bands, TV shows, or even childhood toys on Facebook, but it’s not the safest environment online.
With privacy issues, stalking, controversies with censorship and so-called “hate speech” (and how such a description can be safely applied), Facebook is far from the cozy online home its owners would have you believe. And then there’s malware…

Facebook malware is nothing new, but in the summer of 2017 we discovered that a new variant is out there, targeting users via Facebook Messenger and prompting them to install adware and Trojans. How can you spot this malware, and check if you’ve been infected?

Cross-Platform Malware: The Cost-Effective Attack

In the old days, you could be pretty confident that any malware attack would be aimed at Windows PCs. Online security became such a problem for Microsoft that Windows Defender was bundled with Windows 7 and later.

These days, Windows is still the main target for scammers and hackers. But they’re more proactive in aiming their cynicism at Linux and macOS users. For just a little more effort, a single attack vector can be adapted to draw in users on other systems — perhaps even mobile browsers.
It’s fair to say that traditional malware cannot work in this way. Worms are almost unheard of on Linux and macOS, for instance. But times are changing. Why maliciously destroy someone’s data if there’s no profit in it?
Malware developers have their eye on the ball, and on their bank balances. They need a profitable result. As a result, we’re now in the age of the cross-platform malware attack.

Malware Tailored to YOU

Perhaps the most widely-known examples of cross-platform malware can be found inhabiting Facebook. While the site itself doesn’t serve any malicious code (beyond stripping you of your privacy), Facebook apps, websites, and plugins are capable of forwarding you to unpleasant locations.
When it comes to Facebook Messenger malware, a rather ingenious piece of social engineering is used. First of all, your name is used. Second, your browser and operating system are instantly detected. Finally, you’re coerced into downloading the malicious software.
This might be simple adware, or it could be a Trojan… or both. Either way, this malware banks on the faith and trust you have in Facebook, and subverts this to turn you into a victim.

How to Spot the Facebook Messenger Malware

Once you know what the malware message looks like, you’ll be able to stop it
And yes, it really is as simple as that. Your name, the word “Video,” followed by an emoji. Topping it off comes the link. The idea is that you’re tempted by a surprising or shocking video.
The scam has already used your name, based on your Facebook account. By using your name, the automated software controlling the scam instantly builds a connection with you. After you click on the link, to a Google Docs file, something interesting happens.
Here you’ll find an intentionally-blurred photo pulled from your Facebook account, presented to look like a video. Clicking on this image, however, doesn’t launch a video. Instead, your User Agent data is detected, and you’re sent to a web page and prompted to download software to “fix” the problem.

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