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Messenger virus. A new threat for Facebook users. (Jun 2018)

removal by Lucia Danes - -   Also known as Messenger virus | Type: Malware

Facebook Messenger virus – a misleading strategy used to infect Facebook users with malware

Examples of Facebook Message virus
Messenger virus Example

Facebook Messenger virus is a technique used by hackers to hijack Facebook account and send malicious links on behalf of account's user. Spam messages are generated on a particular schedule (once or twice a day) and distributed to all of the victim's friends. The infected Facebook Message delivers a shortened link and a intriguing postcript, which usually include the name of the recipient and a couple of emojis. The embedded link seems to be leading to YouTube video. Once clicked, the malicious URL redirects to a phishing website filled with installers of dangerous browser extension, fake Flash Player Updates, and similar content.

The malicious virus works as a Trojan horse and belongs to the wide group of the Facebook virus. The virus has been active since 2013 and updated several times. Although Messenger virus does the rounds of Facebook for month and years, it seems that it's on the rise again. Yesterday, the National Agency for Computer Security[1] has alerted Tunisian Internet users against the new wave of Facebook virus and urged them to delete any suspicious messages immediately. 

The latest variant is spread in a form of Facebook message containing a profile picture, the name of the recipient, and a clickable link. German cybersecurity experts[2] has also expressed concern about a renewed distribution of malicious Facebook Messages that feature the name of the potential victim, Astonished Face emoji, e.g. “[name of the recipient] Video :o” and a link supposedly guiding to YouTube. However, experts warn that this type of links can redirect to a site requiring to reconnect to Facebook. That's a catch to extort people's Facebook login details and, therefore, take over the account. 

The purpose of the virus is to hack victim’s Facebook account. In order to do that the virus attacks people via chat window: it pops up as a message from an individual who seems to be your friend and shows a link to some website.[3]

If you click on this link, you will likely get redirected to a fake copy of Youtube or some other site which will suggest installing a browser add-on or software in order to view the content. If the victim agrees, the PC gets infected with malware, which additionally blocks security software in order to prevent its elimination.

Questions about Facebook Message virus

What is more, it starts sending the same fake message to victim’s contacts via the same Facebook chat windows. Please, ignore all suspicious messages that come to your inbox. Even more, contact the sender and ask about the picture or video.

In 2016, French[4] computer users were attacked by A Facebook Messenger Trojan named “Eko”[5] that can spy on users and collect personally identifiable information. The same year English-speaking computer users suffered from the wave of messenger spam spreading a video virus. There were two examples of messages asking: “You are in this video? ” and “This is your video? .”

Last year a variant of Locky ransomware had been distributed with the help of Messenger too.[6] Criminals send a message with a picture in SVG format. Once people clicked on it, they were redirected to a website that asked to install fake Chrome extension. Installation of this application leads to infiltration of a dangerous file-encrypting virus.

Another thing, which is usually done by Facebook Messenger virus, is the continuous distribution of itself via victim’s social media account. You may ask why scammers create such viruses. It has been revealed that the virus helps to steal personal information, such as logins, banking data, and passwords, and controls the machine.

Facebook Messenger virus 2017 continued the work of previous variants. Victims receive a fake YouTube link from their contacts.[7] Once a person clicks on it, the virus redirects to a fake website that looks identical to Facebook. Here people are asked to enter their login details. As a result victim’s account is taken over by the hackers and the malicious message is forwarded to the whole victim’s contact list.

Facebook Message virus example
Facebook Messenger virus example

However, if you clicked on a malicious link, you should remove Facebook Message virus immediately and change your account’s password. If you cannot set a new password, you should report about hacked account Facebook via Support Centre. What is more, you should also change passwords of other accounts, especially if you use the same one.

For Facebook Message remover we suggest using Reimage. This anti-malware will find all malicious components on the system and eliminates its entirely.

Updated on October 27, 2017. Facebook Messenger video virus emerges in a new form, and this time it delivers “its you? (target's name) :|” and similar messages. The deceptive messages contain a link to a video on a phishing web page. If the victim clicks on the link, s/he visits the malicious domain and then receives a notification asking to install “required software” to watch the video.

In case the victim fails to identify a scam and installs the suggested application or update, his computer gets entirely compromised, and the Facebook account gets hacked to send messages with the malicious video link to all of the victim's friends.

If you noticed Facebook Messenger video virus 2017 affecting one of your friends, do not ignore it! Let them know and suggest them to scan their computers to detect the malware. Also, consider advising them to post a message on their wall, asking people not to open the video. Spreading the knowledge is the only way to put an end to Facebook scams and viruses that promote them.

Updated on August 25, 2017. A new wave of the malicious virus was spotted. This time, the scammers are distributing shortened link with a short note “[name of the recipient] Video.” Once clicked, the link redirects the victim to a Google Doc page, which contains a picture that was automatically taken from victim's social media page.

The picture looks like a movie, so the victim will likely click on the play button to start it. Sadly, the virus then redirects the victim to websites that determine victim's browser type, geolocation, and other details.

Depending on victim's operating system, another redirect occurs. Kaspersky reports[8] that Firefox users get redirected to a site offering fake Flash Player update, while Chrome users receive a prompt to install a malicious extension. People using Safari on Mac will receive a suggestion to install “the latest version of Media Player.”

After installing the malware, user's account could get compromised and start sending the virus link to all friends automatically. However, it is yet unclear how exactly the virus spreads. The attackers might be using clickjacking attacks or spying software to steal victims' login details.

Updated on April 10, 2018. New strings of the virus has been noticed. Tunisian and German users are among the first ones to be alerted by authorities about a proliferation of Facebook Messenger virus. 

The report of National Agency for Computer Security has been publicized yesterday addressing Tunisian netizens to be careful with Facebook Messages sent from a friend, which contain your name and a links to YouTube-looking video. 

Facebook Message virus renewed
Messenger virus. A new threat for Facebook users. (Jun 2018)

At the same time, German cybersecurity team, along with experts, reported the same problem on the German users' Facebook accounts. 

People should beware of catchy looking messages on Facebook Messenger from a friend, which contain the name, emoji, and a supposed-to-be link to YouTube video. Such fake messages are used by hackers to redirect people to phishing websites and trick them into giving away their Facebook login name and password or downloading malicious programs disguised under fake Java, Flash Player updates or other software. 

The malware compromises user accounts to promote itself via Facebook Messenger

The virus can easily infect your computer with the help of infected message that shows up on person-to-person chat. Typically, it offers to see a “shocking picture” or “exciting video.” Many users of this social network have been tricked by this scheme because this message looks like it was sent by one of the victim’s contacts.

Once a person clicks on the infected link, the virus enters the system. What is more, the same message is usually spread further to the victim’s contact list and tricking other users. Therefore, it’s a chain reaction that is nearly impossible to stop.

We want to remind that the only way to protect your PC, Facebook account and personal details are not to click suspicious links sent from your friends, colleagues or family members. If you suspect that the content of the message seems suspicious, you should ask your friend if this link or file is safe to open.

Keep in mind that cyber criminals tend to reply to victims. However, if you know the person, it won’t be hard to identify that you are talking with a different person. Otherwise, you should ask yourself if a person you haven’t spoken in years actually wants to share a video or picture with you. Most likely not.

Remove Facebook Messenger virus and protect your account

Nevertheless, virus on Facebook seems like spam; you should still check your computer’s state. Scanning computer with an anti-malware program is especially recommended if you have clicked on a suspicious link or downloaded unknown content.

In order to remove Facebook Message virus, we suggest scanning the computer with Reimage, Malwarebytes MalwarebytesCombo Cleaner or Plumbytes Anti-MalwareMalwarebytes Malwarebytes. You can use other security software. However, you should not forget to update your preferred program.

Another important Facebook Messenger virus removal step is to change your password. If hackers took over your account, they might get credentials to email, bank, and other accounts. Thus, in order to protect your privacy, you should set a strong password. Keep in mind that good password:

  • is at least 12 characters long;
  • has numbers;
  • has capital and lower-case letters;
  • has symbols (if allowed);
  • does not have your name, surname and other personal information included;
  • is not a dictionary word.
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Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Malwarebytes.
Alternative Software
Different security software includes different virus database. If you didn’t succeed in finding malware with Reimage, try running alternative scan with Combo Cleaner.

About the author

Lucia Danes
Lucia Danes - Virus researcher

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