Spotting the sneaky Facebook virus going around

August 31, 2012

Facebook Trends 2012

A less obvious virus

Sometimes we can all get lax when it comes to noting suspicious emails and attachments. We all have seen countless spam emails and they’re usually easy to spot, from Nigerian princes to large inheritances from long-lost relatives. But there is a new spam email that is becoming more common and fools a number of people. And it evolves around Facebook. Because many of us use Facebook so often, we’ve become accustomed to seeing those Facebook notifications filling up our email inboxes. The problem comes into play when users assume that every Facebook email is legitimate.

The newest spam threat is formatted in the same manner of Facebook messages, even with the same blue color. These messages will tell you that one of your Facebook friends has tagged you in a picture and has labeled you as a close friend, but it doesn’t tell you who the friend is. At the bottom of the email, there is a button you can click to view the tagged photo. Doing so will download a virus to your computer. This virus is disguised as a Sun Java Updater. Every time your computer restarts, the virus will run on your computer.

How to tell the fake from the real Facebook email

Identifying this spam email is actually very easy; you just have to know where to look. If you look at the email address that sent the message, you’ll see an address similar to the following: notification + (a random sequence of numbers and letters) @facebookmail.com. Legitimate emails from Facebook usually begin with “update” instead of “notification.” The second thing you can do to protect yourself is to go directly to Facebook to see any photos or messages rather than clicking on links in the email messages.

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Protecting yourself and your computer can be as simple as checking the source of any suspicious—and even unsuspicious—emails. You spent money on your computer; do what you can to protect it from spam, threats, and Trojan viruses. Your computer isn’t safe until you know and understand potential threats. This is the first step.

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The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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