Just in time for the holidays, a new virus disguised as a season’s greeting is wreaking havoc across social networking websites, according to a recent posting by PandaLabs.
The new scam has been making its way across the social networking site Facebook as it takes advantage of users looking to get into the holiday spirit. After receiving a post on their wall containing a link, users who click on it are brought to a fake video player that instructs them to click on it to begin playing a holiday themed video.
However, upon clicking it the player instead downloads a variant of the Koobface worm, named Koobface GK. Once installed, the virus renders the computer useless and registers a new domain whenever “captcha” text is entered in order to make it spread quicker, PandaLabs reported.
“Social networks have become one of the popular entry points used by hackers to spread their creations, due to the false sense of security many users have regarding the content published on these networks,” says Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “Users generally trust the messages and content they receive, and consequently hackers get a high level of response through these channels.”
The Koobface worm, which is named after an anagram for “Facebook,” first appeared last August and affects all Window operating systems, according to Symantec. It joins a long list of previous viruses that have become widespread during the holiday season by masking themselves as a greeting before infecting the computer and, in some cases, stealing confidential information that could be used for identity theft crimes.
According to a recent survey conducted in the UK by Sophos, younger members of Facebook left themselves extremely susceptible to identity theft. A majority of them openly displayed their email addresses, full dates of birth, workplace information, and home towns, information that can be utilized by thieves to pose as them and commit identity theft-related crimes.