How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

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facebook malware thumb   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or VirusI’ve seen a lot of Facebook malware and virus infections spreading though my friends list lately, and after publishing a brief Facebook note about how to stay safe, I decided it might be better to cover the topic again for a broader audience.  Facebook Malware and virus infections takes on many forms, but ultimately it involves interaction with a malicious application that can manipulate your account or spam your friends.

Many of these applications appear to be completely harmless – in fact, some are designed specifically to mimic the appearance of legitimate Facebook applications like photo notifications or wall posts.  It’s natural to be curious when somebody tags a photo of you, so your first instinct is to click the link before thinking about where it will be taking you.


The bad stuff happens after you’ve clicked the link.  Typically, you are required to authorize all applications before they can interact with your account, but I have seen one in particular that seemed to automatically approve itself just by clicking on a link.

Once a malicious Facebook malware or virus application has been approved, several things can happen.  Best case scenario: the application will spam your friends and only be a mild nuisance.  Worst case: the malware could steal your personal information, monitor your activity, or spread viruses and trojans to your friends (and even use your identity to do it).

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This guide will help you identify Facebook malware so you can avoid infection and will also provide tips on how to remove malware once you’ve been infected.

What To Watch Out For

One example of Facebook malware I’ve recently observed are fake notifications that say somebody has “posted something on your wall” or “tagged a video of you”, which you can see in the image below.  Notice that the icon next to the notification appears strange, but many malicious applications utilize standard notification icons which makes them hard to spot.

facebook fake notif   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

These applications also typically bear unassuming names like “Comments” or “Livefeed” which sound similar enough to features currently used on Facebook that they do not arouse much suspicion.

If you click a notification and are taken to a page asking for access to your profile, the most important thing to remember is never click allow.  Most Facebook malware can only interact with your account if you click the allow button, so only click it if you are absolutely sure you want to use the application.

facebook malware allow   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

If you see a suspicious notification and want to verify its legitimacy, visit your profile directly by clicking the Profile button at the top of Facebook rather than clicking the link in the notification.  If you can’t find a corresponding post on the wall, click the X on the false notification and select “Report Spam” immediately.

facebook malware report   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

What To Do If Infected

If you happened to click a strange link on Facebook or accidentally allowed an application that appeared to be malicious, follow these steps right away to revoke its access and protect your account.

  • Click the Applications button in the bottom left corner of Facebook and select Edit Applications.

applications one   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

  • If you have the new version of Facebook, this option can be found under Account (in the top right) then click Application Settings.

newlocation   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

Try to locate the application you interacted with.  In my case, it was a fake application called “Comments”, but I’ve seen others listed as “Feed”.  Click the X to the right of the application then click Remove to disable it.

apps two   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

remove   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

The application will no longer be able to interact with your profile once you have removed it this way.

Extra Precautions

It doesn’t hurt to follow the steps in the previous section even if you think you haven’t been infected.  Browse through your list of applications that have access to your profile and remove any that you are not currently using.

If you see fake notifications from a friend, you can manually block that application to make sure you aren’t accidentally infected.  To do this, visit the application’s homepage on Facebook (remembering not to click the Allow button) and click Block Application.  This will completely stop the application from interacting with your profile at all.

applications blocker   How To Prevent & Remove Facebook Malware or Virus

When you receive a fake notification from a friend, let them know about it right away and have them follow the steps presented in this guide.  The longer they are infected, the more time the malicious application will have to spread itself.

Best Practices

Malicious applications won’t always follow the methods I’ve described in this article, so the best defense you can have is to always be aware of your digital environment.  I’ll leave you with a few tips for staying safe on social networks:

  • Don’t assume links and messages from friends are safe: Malware often takes advantage of the fact that you trust your friends.  Keep an eye on links and messages from friends, and if in doubt, ask them if they actually sent you something.  Most of the time they will have no idea their account has been spamming their friends.
  • Watch the links you click: Fake applications put a lot of effort into looking legitimate, but many of them still carry tell-tale signs of being malicious.  If you’re suspicious of a link, hold your mouse over it and look at the URL in your browser’s status bar.  If the URL looks strange (i.e. long strings of random characters or pointing to a site outside of Facebook), think twice before clicking it.
  • Expand shortened links: Short links are very popular on social networks, making it easier to share URLs.  The downside is that you don’t necessarily know where the link will take you, so consider previewing your short URLs before clicking.
  • If it’s too good to be true, it probably is: If see a link or message on Facebook that claims you can monitor who views your profile or provide other enticing information, there’s a good chance it’s a trap trying to lure you in.
  • Stay updated – Many applications exploit vulnerabilities in your browser or operating system to gain access to your information.  Stay safe by keeping your browser up-to-date and installing operating system updates when they are released.

If you’ve spotted a malicious application or have an experience involving Facebook malware, share it with us in the comments – those experiences can be invaluable for helping others stay safe in the future.  If you have any other tips for staying safe on social networks, let us know!

Image Credit: Gauldo

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13 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Eric

I usually look out for weird messages with odd subjects from friends that I do not talk to very often. That is usually a sign of a virus.

Reply

Tom Alex

Hello
Thanks for that tips

Wanted one like that for a long time
I knew a lot of the applications are fake

Like one i saw recently. “Change the Facebook back to Normal”

And the app creator says specifically ” The app will only work if you invite all your friends to it” Without it the app will not work . And many of my friends believed that.

Also the one to find out who visited your Profile recently

Reply

Fred

Checking your applications (as described under “What to do if infected”) was a great tip. I don’t know if they were malware or not, but I deleted some that I’m not currently using.

I’ll be pointing my closest friends to this tip. Thanks!

Reply

Lee Alford

The last couple of days FB people have been receiving a FU Sign and then naked pics of women. Some say it’s a photo app and you should delete the app and delete the post on your wall because it’s a virus. Many have done this and it still comes back. All these post are coming from folks or friends, that 99% did not send the pic or the sign.

Can a malicious malware/virsue be a person with a compter generated pic? I deleted this person and all the nude pics and the FU sign stopped immediately.

Am I correct in assuming it came from this friend with a computer generated pic on their profile. Their name is:

Cecilia-Anitta Bertolini

Your comments appreciated.

Evan Wondrasek

Hi Lee,

This is definitely possible, I have seen many fake profiles on Facebook. Facebook has added a new feature where you can select “I don’t even know this person” when added by a potential spammer, and if the person is displaying offensive material you can click Report and Facebook will look into it.

I did a search for the user you mentioned and I no longer see him/her on Facebook – probably a spammer and was removed.

Reply

Lee Alford

The last couple of days FB people have been receiving a FU Sign and then naked pics of women. Some say it’s a photo app and you should delete the app and delete the post on your wall because it’s a virus. Many have done this and it still comes back. All these post are coming from folks or friends, that 99% did not send the pic or the sign.
Can a malicious malware/virsue be a person with a compter generated pic? I deleted this person and all the nude pics and the FU sign stopped immediately.
Am I correct in assuming it came from this friend with a computer generated pic on their profile. Their name is:
Cecilia-Anitta Bertolini
Your comments appreciated

Reply

Don

Thanks for this – I reposted into my facebook status and referred my friends to this posting today because one of my co-workers had this experience recently. It is great to keep spreading the word on these types of events and best to keep everyone aware. Thanks for the great job!

Reply

Coyote Weeps

The one I see and don’t trust is a “gifting service” for several games. It says “So-and-so has tagged you in a photo” when the pic is only the games logo or game money or something, and says to click or go to the page it wants, to pick up your gift. That’s most likely a virus or something, yes?

Evan Wondrasek

It might not be a virus (although you can never rule it out) but most likely an underhanded way to make you check out their service, view their ads, or buy some of their virtual goods. Even if it isn’t a virus, still unethical.

Reply

DABIGRAGU

Let me tell you guys, I’m NOT on Facebook and was a victim of their malware/virus/trojans/rootkits about 2 months ago how?
I was on a friends address book who has an account on FB.
I opened up an email he sent me (as did over 200 of his address book contacts)I trusted the source right? Wrong! We all ended up getting over 10 assorted maladies. Several of his contacts ended up spending hundreds of dollars fixing these problems, as you can imagine. One particular trojan worm we picked up went into OUR address books and took off from there, installing Rootkits on our systems as well as all of OUR contacts! We started getting the emails our contacts were sending AND receiving! It’s not fun waking up to 3,000 emails in the morning! Some of us have had to inform our credit card companies, etc. to re-issue new CC’s as some were suddenly having fraudulent charges on their bills. This has been a nightmare, as you can imagine. I spent 9 solid days with Geekstogo getting this crap off my system. When Facebook was contacted about this problem it was like talking to a brick wall if you know what I mean? They informed my buddy they would look into it, yeah right, he hasn’t heard a thing. I might mention I have one of the best Anti-Virus Anti-Malware programs you can buy, they were literally blown away by this intrusion. I’ve made it clear to all my contacts should they belong to FB, take me off your address book as I will no longer respond or open your email. Needless to say I will never join ANY social networking site.
Just my experience and 2 cents.

Reply

dwight

Fantastic blog. Reaaally nice. I liked your blog. Check mine to learn how to make 5000 Facebook friends in a week only. It is free. thanks

Reply

crystal from sarah

Hey, I found this and found it to be interesting.

Reply

Nakia Scott

OK I feel like my situation is more of my husband got caught and hes trying to cover up.. Well about one month ago (he says he didnt) but my hubby sent a I miss u and Im not happy message to a old fling,(that he cheated on me with) he said he didnt do it at all! Then this past Sunday he sent the message I miss you again, this time I caught him (kinda) he had already deleted what he wrote but she had responded ” I miss you too”.. Then when I was gonna confront him about it, it was ALL deleted. Now he is telling me that he NEVER sent her anything, he was hacked or it was a virus or spam, but I dont believe it. So I guess my question is: is that even possible? or does it sound like hes just caught? I need some answers, SHE is not his friend on fb, and nobody knew they use to even mess around except me, him and her? what do I do. Was this a hack? Or total b.s.?!

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