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How Facebook Users Can Protect Their Computers from the Koobface Virus Attack

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Authored by Kumara Velu in Social Networking
Published on 01-18-2009

Koobface is another addition to a long list of viruses transmitted via the Internet on a daily basis. The Koobface virus is targeted at users of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. It’s designed to steal highly confidential personal information like your credit card data.

How does it do this? Firstly, it waits until you make a purchase over the Internet using a credit card. It captures the details when you type them. It can also scan your computer and extract information from cookies relating to previous purchases which you have not cleared after the transactions have been completed.

If you’re targeted, you will receive an email or message from a ‘friend’ over at the networking site. It comes with a catchy subject line like, “You look great in the video….” When you open the message, you’re directed to to download what it claims to be an upgraded Adobe Flash player. If the program is downloaded, your system becomes infected.

There’s another symptom of being infected with the virus. When you try to use search engines like Yahoo or Google you will be taken to irrelevant sites that are likely to infect your computer further.

MySpace was once a victim of this virus. However, the threat has since been removed when the popular social networking site upgraded its security features.

Though information on how to remove the virus is provided at the Facebook site, solutions have not been entirely effective. One infected user went to the extent of using five different anti-virus programs before he detected and eliminated the virus. His system performance was not, however, restored. He had trouble accessing the Internet via Internet Explorer. He uninstalled IE and reinstalled it without any success.

The virus does not attack Internet Explorer directly when it enters the system. It’s only activated after a reboot. You can’t launch Internet Explorer because the virus has changed the proxy setting. To set things right, go to Tools menu and choose Internet Options. Then choose Connections. Finally press the LAN Settings button and uncheck the boxes that are checked. You should be now be able to relaunch your Internet browser.

Here are other options:

  • Clear your cache and cookies before logging out of your browser, especially after engaging in a credit card transaction.
  • Go to the Facebook website and read the instructions on how to protect yourself from the virus.
  • Install Firefox 3 or the latest version. It can block unsafe sites.
  • Use CCleaner freeware to weed out suspicious files in your system.
  • Do not open any video files or links claiming it’s from a Facebook friend.
  • Report to Facebook if you detect that your account has been wrongly used for spam or phishing emails. Change your password immediately.

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