IT security and data protection firm Sophos is warning Facebook
users to be on their guard, after hackers launched an attack this
weekend designed to infect computers with adware. Hundreds of
thousands of Facebook users are thought to have been hit by the
attack which posted a fake video to profiles entitled "distracting
The malicious posts, which were made to appear as if they were
coming from users' friends on Facebook, read:
<name>, this is hilarious! lol :P :P
Distracting Beach Babes [HQ] Length: 5:32
Accompanying the messages was a movie thumbnail of a woman in a
However, Sophos experts warn that clicking on the movie's
thumbnail doesn't play a video, but takes victims to a rogue
Facebook application that informs users that they do not have the
right player software installed, and tries to trick them into
installing revenue-generating adware.
The rogue Facebook application then posts the same message to
users' Facebook friends, spreading the video link across the social
network. Sophos estimates that hundreds of thousands of Facebook
users found themselves under attack this weekend, echoing a similar
scam that spread on Facebook last weekend involving the sharing of
a fake video entitled
"sexiest video ever".
"For two Saturdays running we've seen Facebook users hit en
masse by rogue applications and adware downloads, disguised as sexy
videos," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos
on his blog. "It's time for Facebook to set up an early warning
system on their network, through which they can warn their almost
500 million users about breaking threats as they happen. A simple
message appearing on all users' screens warning them of the
outbreak would have helped in halting the attack."
Sophos notes that Facebook has created a group dedicated to
security issues with over 1.8 million fans. However, at the time of
writing, no specific warnings have been posted on the group about
either the "sexiest video ever" or "distracting beach babes"
"Unless something is done, it won't be surprising if there is
another widespread attack this coming weekend, affecting thousands
more users," continued Cluley. "Facebook needs to both try and
prevent these attacks from happening, and better co-ordinate its
response when an outbreak occurs."
Facebook users hit by the attack are advised not to click on the
links or allow the Facebook application to run.
Sophos's Facebook group, which warns of emerging threats on
Facebook, can be found at www.facebook.com/pages/Sophos/28552295016
Affected users are advised to scan their computer with
up-to-date anti-virus software, change their passwords, and review
their Facebook application settings and remove any Facebook
applications installed during the attack