New Koobface Virus Messages Malware to Friends

Dennis Faas's picture

As Facebook readies itself for a complete profile page makeover, hackers are now striking fast and furious with a barrage of attacks aimed at all those associated with the social networking site. The site has been exposed to five different security threats in this past week alone, including four new hoax applications that trick members into divulging usernames and passwords.

There are a number of reasons why hackers are attracted to social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook. The interconnectedness of millions of people, coupled with pages and pages of personal information, make stealing an identity rather easy.

The most prolific virus to plague Facebook, however, is a new variant of the Koobface worm that has already wreaked havoc on thousands of vulnerable profile pages. The virus installs malware on the computers of victims who mistakenly click onto the link of a false YouTube video suggested by a "friend". (Source:

Koobface: A 'Devious' Virus

The Koobface worm is rather devious, because although it attacks social networking pages, the virus can be found and downloaded from virtually any website. After a user visits a malicious site and unknowingly downloads the malware, the worm searches for cookies created by online social networks. Once Koobface finds the social networking cookies, it makes a DNS query to check IP addresses that correspond to remote domains. The server is then able to send and receive information regarding the infected machine and perform commands by remote through the victim's PC. (Source:

For example: an infected PC would could send an instant message claiming to be from a "friend" saying "check out the new Hannah Montana video." Intrigued, the victim's friends clicks on the message to view the clip and their computers become infected and part of a botnet. The cycle repeats itself.

Online Safety First

Of course, concerned individuals can protect themselves by consistently keeping their computers up to date, including operating system updates, up-to-date antivirus software, and anti-malware software.

As a rule of thumb, analysts also encourage users to consider which applications they choose to install on Facebook, think twice before clicking on links suggested by friends, and never install a video or audio codec from a random site.

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