Circulating Facebook message describes a ‘major hack’ that is spreading a virus via private Facebook messages. The message warns users not to open attachments claiming to contain images in a .zip file.
The attack described is real, although details are currently sketchy. The text of the messages and the name of the malicious attachment vary considerably. It appears that the messages are being sent either from compromised Facebook accounts or from fake accounts set up by scammers. Either way, users should not open attached .zip files in these bogus messages. The attachments contain malware. As noted in the warning, users should be very cautious of messages that invite you to view pictures in an attached file, even if the messages appear to come from friends.
There is a major HACK going on affecting several people. It sends a private message to your facebook. Ignore any and all PM’s (chat box) telling you about a pic or pics. I have not sent pictures to anyone, nor have I posted them to anyone. These messages have a zip file attached to them. DO NOT OPEN IT!! Copy and paste this to your facebook as well to spread the word that no one should open this file. It is a virus…..
According to a warning message that is going viral on Facebook, a “major hack” is currently occurring on the network. The message warns users to watch out for private messages claiming that recipients can view images by opening an attached .zip file. The warning advises users not to open these attachments because they contain a virus.
The threat described is real and has been reported by a number of Facebook users. The exact mechanism by which the bogus messages are delivered is currently unclear. The messages may originate from Facebook accounts hijacked via phishing attacks. Or, they may come from fake accounts set up by criminals with the purpose of sending scam and spam messages.
However, the messages are certainly malicious. A reader who has tested the malware payload of the .zip file notes that it is a JAVA executable file that, when run, will create a temp file called BACKDOOR.BOT, place an executable in the browser’s cache and place an executable in the Facebook cache. As shown in the following examples, the text and attachment names of the malware messages vary considerably:
someone made a profile named “Luca Pelliciari” and he uploaded some of your photos! is that you?
ha ha ha OMG take a look at Mairy’s pic …omg
do you know her? She is uploading some of your photos!!!
someone made a profile named “ Amirilia Tully’” and he uploaded some of your photos! is that you?
There are apparently several more variants of the scam messages.
Thus, the advice in the warning message to avoid opening the attachments that come with these messages is worth heeding. Be wary of any Facebook message that suggests that you open an attached file to view images. The best course of action is simply to delete these messages. If they appear to come from someone on your friend’s list, you should let them know that their account may have been compromised.
If you have inadvertently installed the malware by opening the attachment, you may need to scan for malware using a reliable anti-malware program such as Malware Bytes. You may also need to remove any scam messages that have been posted on your Facebook profile or newsfeed and warn your Facebook friends about the attack.
Such scam campaigns are quite common. This threat uses similar tactics to a 2012 Facebook phishing campaign in which users were instructed to click a link to view an image. The link opened a bogus site that tried to trick users into giving their Facebook login details to criminals.