Facebook user? There's a good chance you've been exposed to malware at least once in your recent travels through the popular social-networking site. According to the security firm BitDefender, which analyzed the profiles of 14,000 users, approximately 20 percent of all news feeds on Facebook contain some sort of malware.
BitDefender says the bulk of the infectious software on the site was written by independent developers – and seemed to center on the kind of "Free trial! Click here!" invitations that open the door to all sorts of computer viruses. In a statement to the BBC, Facebook said it was taking steps to cut down on malware. "Once we detect a phony message, we delete all instances of that message across the site," reps for the site said.
In late October, a particularly malicious piece of malware called Koobface resurfaced on Facebook. Like the original strain of the Koobface virus – which was first documented almost two years ago – the malware is spread via Facebook messages. The messages usually have clickable topic lines – "Is this you in the video?" 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. Computer security expert Dave Marcus 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.
“It comes down to reading,” Marcus explained. “I always read the subject line of the e-mail. In many cases, that’ll give you something – sometimes, they just look wrong.”