Facebook Spreads Viruses Too. Here’s How to Stay Protected
Facebook viruses offer a serious threat to your online security.
Facebook is a brilliant social media platform for many reasons, and it is simply essential if you want, um… to exist in the modern world.
But don’t forget Facebook is like a big city airport or train station – you will encounter lots of people, but, unfortunately, some of them might turn out to be crooks or infect you with a virus.
They say you should know your enemies before learning how to defeat them. So in this article, you will find tips and advice on:
What is a Facebook virus?
A Facebook virus is either a computer virus your device contracts via Facebook or a social engineering scam you fall victim to through the platform.
In general, criminals aim to gain access to your profile. If they succeed, they will have access to any private information you’ve shared on Facebook, friend list, and messages. It means they’ll be able to interact with your friends, convincing them it’s you. Alongside this, many malware programs are designed to go beyond Facebook to access any other online accounts sharing the same email. In a worst-case scenario, they will infect your computer.
Statistics show data breaches have increased dramatically in the past decade. Viruses are becoming increasingly sophisticated as technologies evolve. Every bug in Facebook’s software also gives criminals an opportunity to push their malware. For example, the latest case of Facebook Messenger app vulnerability allowed attackers to access users’ Windows.
How to spot a Facebook threat?
There are tons of Facebook viruses and scams out there, but don’t let this scare you. You can quite easily protect yourself from Facebook malware, you just need to learn how to recognize it first. Here are several sneaky tactics cybercriminals use to lay their hands on your Facebook property.
1️⃣ Urgent personal messages
In this method, fraudsters use social engineering skills to gain access to your personal details.
Say, you receive a message from your Facebook pal claiming he is in trouble and needs your help. It could say your friend is in the hospital and needs you to pay for his hospital bill. This one is easy to recognize because you will feel forced to transfer money as soon as possible. But the best thing to do, in this case, would be to call your friend and make sure you are not being fooled.
A similar scam is a message from an often well-known company representative asking you to do something like claiming a prize. If you take a closer look at the message, you will see this is just an impersonator trying to scam you. In order to respond, you will need to submit way too many personal details or download suspicious programs.
All it takes is one little download - and boom! Before you know it, you’re infected and googling how to remove Facebook chat spam virus.
2️⃣ Fake Facebook apps
Cybercriminals have learned how to fool us with Facebook apps too. We recognize a familiar game icon, click on it, and a second later, we’re trapped.
For example, hackers can create a twin of your favorite game to spread the Facebook login virus. You open what you think is Candy Crush and see you need to log in. Obviously, you type in your email and password, and fraudsters can now access your credentials to gain full control of your profile.
Or imagine you open a fake Candy Crush, and the app asks you for authorized permissions. Without giving it a second thought, you inadvertently hand over full access to your profile in just a few unfortunate clicks.
3️⃣ Facebook video virus
Facebook will typically warn you of the possible risks before redirecting you to another website, but you should still be aware of this kind of fraud.
There are two types of video viruses on Facebook: a Facebook messenger video virus and a Newsfeed video virus. Typically, they link to a third-party resource, followed by a message stating you should definitely watch this video. Trust us, you shouldn’t.
Hackers are doing a great job of making the link look like it’s from YouTube or other well-known resources. If you click on it, a pop-up will offer to install software (aka a virus) to play the video.
If you’ve already downloaded the unknown file, you may now need to get rid of potentially malicious software on your computer. You shouldn’t solely rely on your antivirus as this software can’t always protect you.
4️⃣ General spam posts
If something you read on Facebook seems too good to be true or a friend’s post looks way too unrealistic, then you notice unusual patterns in their behavior, trust your gut and act carefully.
What are the chances of your co-worker actually posting a link to a shocking video of Justin Bieber in a nightclub kissing squirrels? Even though curiosity can easily take over common sense, think twice before clicking on any suspicious links.
Ignore tempting online lotteries and ‘claim your reward’ messages as they are often potential threats too. Before engaging with any suspicious activity on Facebook, even with people you supposedly know, make sure it’s them who are posting on their wall or messaging you. Ask follow-up questions or contact them by other means of communication. You should always stay cautious.
But let’s suppose you came across this article far too late, and you’re already a victim of Facebook hackers. This raises the question…
How to clean a Facebook virus?
We decided to pull together a few simple virus removal methods you can perform yourself. If you have any difficulties with the following instructions or you want to make sure you’re doing everything correctly – please feel free to contact us for guidance.
Step 1: Secure your Facebook account
You’ve already learned how to stop Facebook virus messages (just don’t click on strange links!). Now it’s time to protect your profile.
1. Make sure you are not a victim of a Facebook virus in an app
Log in to your Facebook profile, select Settings by clicking on the arrow pointing downwards on the right upper corner of the blue panel, then select Apps and Websites. Check for suspicious apps and click Remove on any you’d like to avoid.
2. Change your password
Go to General Account Settings to change your password. Your new password should be at least eight characters long, include a special character as well as feature a mixture of lowercase and uppercase letters, and a number. Make it as difficult to guess as possible.
3. Check active sessions
You won’t be kicked out from your Facebook account if someone else has access to it, so make sure you don’t have any active sessions besides yours. In Settings, choose Security and Login and see Where You're Logged In. If you see any unknown devices and locations, don’t hesitate to log out from these sessions.
4. Enable two-factor authentication
This move won’t protect you from Facebook malware, but it will secure your account from hacker attacks. Scroll down in the Security and Login menu, then in the Two-Factor Authentication section, click Edit. Secure your account either with Authentication App or Text Message authentication.
Step 2: Secure your browsers
The next step is to make sure your browsers are not compromised by any parasitic extensions.
Open the Safari browser and click on the browser’s name in the top menu bar. Choose Preferences and navigate to the Extensions tab. Uninstall any shady extension. After this, you will also need to restart Safari:
- Click on the browser’s name in the top menu bar.
- Pick Clean history, make sure to select the All history option, and click the Clean history button.
- Go to Safari > Preferences > Advanced and check the Show Develop menu in menu bar option.
- Look at the top menu bar again, click on Develop, then select Empty Caches.
- Restart Safari.
Type chrome://extensions in your address bar. Remove any suspicious looking extensions. Then type chrome://settings in your address bar and pick Advanced settings. Find the Reset button and reset your browser.
Type about:addons in the address bar and select Extensions. Remove any extensions you are unaware of. As with Chrome, you will need to reset your browser to activate any changes. Type about:support and choose to Refresh Firefox.
Find and click on a gear icon in the top right corner of your Internet Explorer (IE). Choose the Manage Add-ons option and disable all suspicious add-ons. Go back to the gear icon to access Internet Options. Then go to the Advanced tab and reset your IE browser.
Step 3: Look for malicious software on your computer
Invasive programs such as adware or browser hijackers can be a reason why your Facebook account is acting weird. Such junkware is difficult to spot. If your computer is infected, you can experience slowdowns, random browser redirects or unknown pop-ups. Be sure to clean it as soon as you notice any strange activity.
Contrary to popular opinion, Mac computers do get viruses.
It is very difficult to remove potential Facebook malware from your Apple computer yourself. If you suspect you are infected, clean your browsers’ extensions as in the instructions above, then secure your Facebook account, and try updating your Mac OS. If you still need help after this, consider hiring a professional to remove the junkware for you.
And protect your Mac computer with an antivirus from now on.
- Press Windows key + R to open the Regedit (Registry edit) window. Type Control Panel and click OK. Alternatively, open the Windows Start menu and use the search box to find and open Control Panel.
- In Control Panel, look for Programs and Features. If you’re using an older Windows version, it will be the Add/Remove Programs section instead of Programs and Features.
- You will see a list of programs currently installed on your PC. Uninstall any suspicious-looking programs. Follow instructions for the program uninstall wizard to completely delete it from your computer.
On mobile devices
We advise taking your device to a service center if you notice any suspicious behavior as it can be very difficult to clean your phone or tablet on your own.
If you have an Android phone, you can look for unknown programs on your device, then delete them yourself. As for iOS users, we recommend check your iPhone for malware in case of any unusual activity on the device.
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Indeed, there are many ways cybercriminals can use Facebook to target you. That’s why you should secure your social media life by following these simple steps:
- Don’t click on any suspicious links. Even if they are sent by your best friend.
- Don’t download any untrustworthy software from unknown resources, even if a pop-up insists it is a matter of life and death.
- Protect your devices. Install high-quality antivirus software from a trusted provider and consider using a Virtual Private Network (or VPN). If you’re still looking for such a provider, feel free to protect your social media life with Clario antivirus today.
Be careful out there. Remember, your online safety is in your hands.