Online Safety

How to Avoid Hackers on Facebook

Is it possible for apps and games on Facebook to carry a virus? How do Facebook users get hacked?

There is a threatening bug that is traveling via Facebook which can cause severe damage to your computer. This monster gets around by making itself appear as though it is a personal message from a Facebook friend. If you receive a private message from a close trusted friend asking you to check out a funny video or even a video of their self are you likely to click it? After all, you know and trust this person. You wouldn’t expect them to send you anything harmful right?

So, you click on the link and nothing happens, or so it seems. You may reply to your friend and say something like “I couldn’t get the video to play” and your friend may come back with “what video?”. From what I have heard some people don’t notice anything until after they restart their computer. I have also heard of people who’s computer reacted by going to the “blue screen”, shutting off on its own, suddenly getting very slow then growing worse… Commonly the operating system does not load correctly and the user cannot access short cuts, files, settings, or programs.

Avoid a Virus on Facebook!
Avoid a Virus on Facebook!

If you receive a message from a friend asking you to click a link of any kind (or one that includes any sort of attachment) and you are not absolutely certain about the nature of that link be sure to communicate with your friend BEFORE clicking the link.

Remember! Generally people get these bugs inadvertently and mean no harm to you. In fact they are usually not  even aware that these links are going out appearing to be from them. So if you receive something like this be sure to let your friend know about it.

My own opinion is that Facebook apps and games may carry a virus/worm/trojan. There are so many of these “like” and “quiz” etc. infinitum… apps and it is not possible to determine the safety of all of them. New ones are appearing nearly every day and on some folks profile pages all you will see are miles and miles of apps and games.

Generally speaking, the purpose of an app is to promote awareness and traffic for a particular website or company, hence the link to the site when the ‘thing’ appears on a profile. Even an app that is used on a phone or other device is intended to coax us into visiting a website. Many apps are well trusted and known to be safe. I am not advocating that apps be completely ignored but I am stressing the importance of not just clicking away blindly and accepting every app request you receive.

While it is most always perfectly acceptable and safe to “Like” a page that actually resides on precaution should be taken when “Liking” something on an external website. If the website is not trusted you should consider carefully before clicking that “Like” button.

While I have been talking about this from the perspective of Facebook the principles will apply to other social networking sites. Walk carefully and wisely down that click filled path my friend.

Don’t Be Click Happy And You Just May Avoid a Virus on Facebook!

The risks and dangers associated with using apps on Facebook and similar are real.

What follows is a bit of a parody and the approach may seem a little strange but the matter is a serious one.

Click wisely and prosper!

If you are “click happy” then social networking sites such as Facebook might prove to be a dangerous place for you to hang out.

“Hey wait a minute, what’s this “click happy” stuff? Are you trying to insult me or something? Come on people clickety click those apps they’re great! Don’t be talking bad about apps around here!”

Uhh who is that in my keyboard?

“Never mind me, I just hacked in awhile back when you answered those quiz questions.”

Excuse me while I go to my account settings and turn this guy off and then close out everything and run my anti virus ad ware monster remover 3000.

 2 hours 45 minutes later…

Ok, that’s better. Luckily I was able to clean that rascal bug out of my machine. So, where was I? Oh yeah…

Have you ever noticed that it seems like new applications are appearing on your Facebook home page every single day? That is because apps can be created by anyone, even you or I. So all around the world people are creating and launching their apps on Facebook. And too many people just trust them blindly; clicking and sharing information and giving access with unknown “third parties”…

There’s no doubt that some apps can be useful. For example, many of us do things with our phones which wouldn’t be possible without an app. If an app is from a well trusted company or website then chances are it is fine. Apps are not inherently bad; it’s just that one should be much more cautious about them and try not to be click happy. Do you really need that app to tell people you like Pepsi better than Coke? Do you really need an app to post a tarot card reading to your page every day?

“Hey wait a minute, what’s this “click happy” stuff? Are you trying to insult me or something? Come on people clickety click those apps they’re great! Don’t be talking bad about apps around here!”

Uhh Not again! Who is that in my keyboard?

“Never mind me, I just hacked in awhile back when you answered those quiz questions.”

Aww man! It looks like the click happy virus! It’s back. Shutting down…

14 hours later…

Ok, I did a full reformat and reinstalled windows so that click bug should be gone now. Anyway without any further interruptions let me see if I can remember what I was talking about.

The bulk of the apps and games you see on Facebook are “third party”. That means they are not officially created or even endorsed by Facebook.

When I say that anyone with a Facebook account can create and launch an app I mean anyone. You, me, a hacker… So you have probably already guessed that hackers would be aware of this and that they would take advantage of it. Why? Well, who knows what some crazy people will do and why. Perhaps they get a kick out of it or a sense of power. Maybe it is a game to some hackers; just to see if they can do it.

Not all apps considered harmful are actually virus carriers. Many carry adware or spyware to track certain actions or even to automatically post ads to your, or your friends’, profile or send messages to your friends. Most of those friends may assume that you sent them a link and it would be Ok to click it because they trust you.

I know people who have had their computers trashed because of a virus they got from clicking a message sent to them by a “friend”. This person had quite a lot of people on his friends list too and each one of them in turn received a message with the same link that did him in. Who knows how many of those people clicked the link and suffered similar problems.

Most of the apps I have seen on Facebook are really very frivolous anyway. Why should we use an app to tell a family member that we love them or miss them? Why not just post a message on their profile or better yet if possible just get off Facebook and pick up the phone or go to their house!

Yeah, I understand that Facebook is a good way to keep in touch with friends and family. I appreciate the fact that folks can share things so quickly even though they are miles apart

It must be true folks! Right here it is in black and white! You know they wouldn't let them print this if it weren't the truth! And dig them bar glasses!
It must be true folks! Right here it is in black and white! You know they wouldn’t let them print this if it weren’t the truth! And dig them bar glasses!

So What’s This All About Anyway?

Right about now, if you have managed to read this far, you are probably wondering what is this crazy person trying to say? Well… Just try not to be too click happy on Facebook, or anywhere really. Avoid the apps anytime you can and your computer will be happier and healthier for it.

And remember this isnt just about Facebook or even social networking sites. These hackers are also trying to get at us through emails. Watch those links, click with care and try to be safe on the super information highway.

Bumper stickers and T-shirts should be issued;

“Practice Safe Clix!” or perhaps “Don’t be Click Happy!”

Here are some messages I received from someone on my friends list. If you get something like this do not click it and inform your friend that they have a virus or trojan infection.

Hey, I have an IQ Score of 117?? Lets see if you can beat me, bet you 20$ you can “link removed”

Guess what? Someone just got an iPad2 and didn’t pay a cent for it Fedex just knocked on my door today, I absolutely love it! I got it from these guys “link removed”

Written by D. Slone, Copyright 2010


Don’t Be Click Happy Avoid a Virus on Facebook

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