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RockMelt Virus Warning Hoax

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Message circulating on Facebook warns users not to open any message about a new browser called RockMelt because it is a virus.

Brief Analysis

The claims in the warning are false. RockMelt is a new social networking focused web browser. It is not a virus and does not contain malicious content. Depending on the choices that users make when installing the browser, RockMelt may send invitations to people on your Friends list. However, these invitations do not carry a virus.

Example

Facebook Alert *****

If you get an instant message from anyone about a new browser called RockMelt- it is a virus. DO NOT OPEN IT. I dont care who sends it. please repost. This is spread to your friends if you open it.

Rockmelt Virus Warning

Detailed Analysis

According to this “warning”, which is currently circulating rapidly via Facebook, users should not open any messages they receive about a new browser called RockMelt because the messages contain a virus. The warning claims that opening the message will spread the virus to your friends and asks that people repost the information to warn other users.

However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense and should not be taken seriously. RockMelt is a perfectly legitimate web browser that focuses on social networking. It is certainly not a virus, nor does the software harbour any malicious content.

This false rumour is probably derived from a misunderstanding about the invitations that may be sent to the friends of users who install the RockMelt browser. After users install the browser and login with their Facebook login details, they are presented with an option to send invitations to RockMelt to all of their friends. Users can choose to send invites to only selected friends or to send no invites at all. Quite unwisely, however RockMelt has chosen to have the “send to all friends” checkbox ticked by default. Thus, many users will quickly skip through the process perhaps not even realizing that they have sent messages promoting RockMelt to all of their friends. This unfortunate choice by RockMelt’s developers means that it is earning a reputation as a “spammy app”. Many people who receive the unsolicited invitations may consider them spam or fear that links in the message point to malicious websites.

Nevertheless, the invitations are exactly what they claim to be. They are not “viruses” nor do links in the messages point to any malicious content. During research for this article, I downloaded RockMelt and tested it extensively. There was no indication that the browser has any malicious intent and security scans did not flag any problems with the software.

RockMelt does require users to provide their Facebook login details as well as login credentials for other social networking platforms that they wish to use in the browser and this has raised some security concerns. Some social networkers may be understandably unwilling to divulge such information to a third party application. But, Rockmelt has addressed these security concerns in detail on its website, and in any case, such security issues give no credence whatsoever to the false claims in the above warning message.

Thus, the warning has no validity and sending on such blatant misinformation will help nobody.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer