According to an urgent sounding ALL CAPS message that is currently gaining momentum on Facebook, users should not accept friend requests from someone named Frederic Pretty because he is a hacker.
The message suggests that the name is attached to a very powerful “hacking” account and implores users to copy the message to their walls for the safety of all. The message rather vaguely claims that you can identify the hacking account via a profile photo that features a “car blue sky”.
However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense. You cannot get hacked just by accepting someone’s friend request. A name alone certainly cannot damage or destroy your computer. A name, even a “fake” one used by a skilled hacker, cannot actually do anything to your computer. Before a hacker can take control of your computer, he must use some method to gain access to it. Internet criminals can and do use a range of tactics to trick users into relinquishing access to their computers. They might trick victims into installing trojan software that allows a computer to be controlled remotely. Or they might use a phishing attack to trick a victim into sending them personal information such as usernames and passwords, which would allow hackers to access their victim’s account. However, even the smartest criminal will not be able to hack your computer just by being added to your contact list or by using a specific name. For a hacking attempt to be successful, some sort of file transfer or exchange of information must take place.
This bogus warning is just one more in a very long line of similar, and equally false, hoaxes. From time to time, some prankster will substitute a new name for the supposed hacker, alter a few details, and launch the pointless hoax anew. All such hoaxes claim that the simple act of accepting someone as a friend on your social network will give a sinister hacker access to your computer. All such claims are untrue.
Sending on these warnings will help no one. Such hoaxes clutter online communities with false and useless information. These hoaxes can also unfairly tarnish the reputations of innocent users. If you receive one of these false hacker warnings, please do not pass it on to others. And please take a moment to let the sender know that the message is a hoax.
An example of the hoax post:
DO NOT ACCEPT INTO YOUR CONTACTS (FREDERIC PRETTY)! HE PUT A CAR BLUE SKY IN PROFILE PHOTO! THIS IS A HACKING INTO ACCOUNT VERY POWERFUL. FOR THE SAFETY OF ALL! COPY / paste this MESSAGE on your wall