Tag Archives: facebook-malware

Facebook Hacker Uses Chat to Extort Money

Having security software on your computer isn’t enough to keep you protected. Not clicking on unknown links won’t make sure you aren’t infected. Restraining yourself from punching the monkey or placing a tail on the donkey will not ensure your machine stays clean and free of unwanted nasties. Likewise, locking down your Facebook profile to only allow friends direct access to you may not be enough to keep you from being scammed.

Scammers will go to any lengths to extort money from us, apparently. One man recently hacked into a Facebook account and then proceeded to beg for money from a friend of the user whose account he had broken into. You can read the entire transcript of the chat between the two at the end of this post. Suffice to say the idiot tripped himself up more than once right from the beginning. Thanks to the quick thinking of the friend contacted, no harm was done – and no money changed hands.

Mike was supposedly in the hospital, recovering from some type of surgery to his head or brain. Imagine his friend Kevin’s surprise, then, when Mike chatted him up on the popular social networking site, claiming that he and his family were stranded in London and needed money right away to get home. The first red flag was raised at that precise moment. The second came shortly after Kevin offered to pay for airline tickets for the quartet using his air miles. Mike insisted they needed cash to settle the hotel bill – even though they were supposedly already standing in the airport. Mister scammer wanted cash wired to him via Western Union faster than most people could think.

Sadly, you can’t even trust your friends these days. More accurately, you should never fully trust that your friend is REALLY your friend if they ask you for money out of the blue… especially if they want it wired to some weird location they shouldn’t be in. Double and triple-check every detail before giving in to the impulse to help these people. Make sure the story is really true – or you’re going to be out a whole lot of money and pride.

Mike: Hello
Mike: how are you doing today ?
Kevin: hey hey
Mike: how are you doing today?
Kevin: all good, thank God…how’s by you
Mike: not good at all
Kevin: ?
Mike: yes
Kevin: what’s going on
Mike: we’re stuck in london
Mike: got mugged at the gun point last night
Mike: all cash and credit card phone got stolen away from us
Kevin: oh my goodness
Mike: but thank God will still have our passport with us
Kevin: i didn’t even know you guys were traveling
Mike: i need your help
Kevin: did you go to the police?
Mike: sorry i didn’t inforom you
Mike: yes but there are not helping issue ata ll
Mike: they told us to come back in two weeks later
Kevin: i thought you were confined to a hospital bed? how did you manage to get on a plane?
Mike: yes
Mike: i do
Mike: but my wife
Mike: has us to leave with the kids
Mike: for vacation
Mike: wondering if you can loan me some cash $$
Mike: when we get back today am going to refund back your money to you
Kevin: so you are still in the hospital, or you are in london with them?
Mike: i said am in london with them
Mike: Tracy said she going to pay back the money
Mike: when we get back
Kevin: Mike, seriously???? you never even paid me back the last loan! how i can i possibly give you more now?
Mike: please
Kevin: you remember, you asked me for money for the head surgery
Mike: Tracy will refund all
Mike: back to you immediately we get back home
Kevin: tell you what
Mike: i swear
Kevin: i have a friend in london. he can come get you
Kevin: we’ll sort it out
Kevin: i’m going to call him now, hold on
Kevin: where are you now
Mike: ok call him
Mike: but i don’t think that will help us
Mike: in this situiation
Mike: what we need is some cash
Kevin: he can bring some money for you
Mike: to get on a plane back home
Kevin: i’ll get you tickets. are you coming back to JFK?
Mike: our flight will be leaving in the next 1hour
Mike: yes
Kevin: oh, then i can meet you at the airport
Mike: can you wire us dome fund
Mike: via western union money transfer ?
Kevin: you’re at the airport already??
Mike: yes
Mike: please send us the money
Kevin: how much do you need
Mike: we’re going to pick it up here in the airport
Kevin: how much
Mike: $1550
Kevin: yikes
Kevin: oh you know what
Kevin: i have plenty of miles on my account, i can just buy the tickets for you
Mike: ??
Kevin: what flight number
Mike: i have to sort out hotel bills also
Mike: money is the issue
Mike: before leaving
Kevin: if your flight is in an hour, and you’re already in the airport, the hotels can wait until you land in a few hours
Mike: let me know how much you can get me at the moment?
Kevin: i’ll meet you at the JFK terminal
Kevin: i’ve already called your dad to let him know the situation
Kevin: he’s freaking out
Kevin: but i told him that you’re safe now
Mike: i still have my lodgings in the hotel
Kevin: he asked if you delivered the special package, or if it was taken from you
Kevin: not sure what he means by that
Kevin: do you want him to call you?
Mike: let let him know i did
Mike: i told you our phones got stolen away from
Mike: us
Kevin: oh right ok
Mike: let me know how much you can get to me at the moment
Kevin: ok, i got you 4 tickets on kuwait airways 101, it’s leaving at 6pm your time
Mike: because we need to get the bill sorted and get back home
Kevin: i put you, Tracy, and the the kids’ names on it
Kevin: so that should take care of the flight
Kevin: let me call the hotel, i’ll sort it out with them
Kevin: what’s their info
Mike: ok
Mike: you can call the hotel manager
Mike: +44[redacted]
Mike: let me know if you’re calling now
Kevin: actually, i’m calling the police. thanks for the phone number, scammer
Mike: you’re welcome
Mike: i will hack into your account if you dont log out between 6minute
Mike: i swear
Kevin: hahah go for it
Mike: ok wait and see your account going on hack processing right now
Mike: with bad sofware
Mike: 5minutes more

I have no idea if this scammer was caught, but let’s hope he at least learned a lesson.

Computer Malware: There's a Facebook App for That

The newly-published results of the 2010 Consumer Reports State of the Net survey are interesting, to say the least. While much of the findings discuss privacy in general, one item that was glossed over stood out to me. According to the study:

Of the estimated 18.4 million adult Facebook users who used apps (games and quizzes), 38 percent were either confident apps were secure or hadn’t thought about it. Meanwhile, a projected 1.8 million computers were infected by apps obtained through one or another social network in the past year.

Nearly two million computers were infected with malware from apps on sites such as Facebook. It boggles my mind that this was glossed over. Some of the infections may consist “only” of adware or other mostly-harmless (just annoying!) junk, many of them are likely far more dangerous. Some pieces of malware will dig into your computer without your ever knowing it and then proceed to steal your information. Still other types will use your computer as a part of botnet… attacking innocent sites and people.

With the risk of becoming infected being so great these days, I would think there would be a way for sites like Facebook to regulate the apps they allow. Sure, there is a “disclaimer” whenever you add an app to your profile. However, it just seems to me that more can – and SHOULD – be done to help keep site users safe. Heck, if FB isn’t going to police these apps, at least do something to warn users more clearly about the potential dangers.

When you’re surfing around your favorite social site installing things, please make sure you’re smart about it. Check out the source of the application, and research them. Are there complaints running around the web which talk of malware being installed or found with that app? Go one step further and ASK for other opinions before you click to allow access to something new. What are others saying about that little game or quiz?

As always, make sure you keep your machine protected with proper Windows updates and security software. Trust your instincts… not your lust for the newest time-wasting game.