There is always a Grinch. This year he comes in the form of malware, and his name is Koobface.
Koobface (an anagram for Facebook) is a malicious worm that uses social networks to send fake messages to users – things like “Hey! Are you really in this video?”, “LOL, check it out”, “My home video :)”, or “Hey! You are on news!” and contain a link to a website where you will supposedly be able to view the ‘video’.
Clicking on the malicious link starts your troubles. Once on the site, if you click to watch the ‘video’ you get a pop-up message telling you that in order to watch the video, you need to update your Adobe Flash player. Conveniently, they provide the option to install the ‘new’ version simply by clicking install.
What you really install of course is the Koobface Worm that infects your computer, steals your information, and enables a proxy tool so that your machine becomes part of a botnet so the attackers can continue to abuse your computer and any information it contains.
In this example, the ‘message’ refers to a fake video posted by ‘SantA’, and you are led to believe it will be cute entertainment to watch.
Adobe Flash player continues to be one of the most popular social engineering tactics used by criminals to turn your computer into a bot. But one simple rule will prevent you from becoming a victim.
Consistently applying one key principle will ensure that you don’t fall for these scams
Steer don’t be pulled
- Do not use a link contained in a message – whether it comes in email, IM, on a social networking site, text message, or some other means. Find the proper URL yourself using a search engine – and use a malware filter like McAfee Site Advisor (it’s free) to be sure the site is legitimate before clicking the link.
- If you think you need to install a newer version of ANY software, go to the company’s site (in this case Adobe.com) and download from there. It is the only way to ensure you are not getting something other than you bargained for.
Following a few safety principles will keep the Grinch, Koobface, and other nastiness out of your holiday festivities.