The return of Koobface

Koobface, a virus that first hit in 2008, has returned for a second round of mayhem. Can anyone slay the Koobface monster for good?

Bob Staake
Koobface, a virus first spotted in 2008, has returned. And analysts say that the new strain, dubbed Boonana, is just as dangerous as ever.

Koobface, the resilient little virus that first surfaced in 2008, is back again in a new strain – and this time, it's targeting Mac and Linux operating systems, as well as the Microsoft Windows OS. According to a handful of computer security firms, the new Koobface strain, dubbed Boonana, first surfaced on Wednesday, and has been working its way outwards ever since.

(Side note: Koobface, Boonana – can't we just call the next virus Fred or Jim or The Crazy Virus of Computer Death and Destruction?)

Computerworld is reporting that Boonana, like the original Koobface, is spreading via messages on social networks such as Facebook. The messages usually have clickable topic lines – "Is this you in the video?" or "Funny pictures of you," or something similar – but when users actually click on the message, they are brought to a third party site. On that site is a link. Open the link, and your computer will turn into a zombie.

Or it might just promptly crash. As we reported last year, Koobface is a computer virus of the worst variety – a piece of malware that links infected computers together into what's known as a "bot-net." It sounds scary. And it is. Once a computer has succumbed to the Koobface virus, it will proceed to attempt to infect your Facebook or MySpace friends, and it won't stop until the virus has been completely purged from your machine.

Dave Marcus, director of security research and communication at McAfee Avert Labs, told the Monitor in 2009 that all users should follow a handful of precautions to avoid clogging up their computers with malware. For one, you should run regular antivirus scans; on the other, you should pay attention to site advisories, and track reports of new viruses.

“It comes down to reading,” Marcus said. “I always read the subject line of the e-mail. In many cases, that’ll give you something – sometimes, they just look wrong.”

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