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Love Desire Facebook Group 'Virus' Warning

Outline
Message circulating via Facebook claims that a fast spreading virus is adding people to a Facebook Group called "Love Desire" without their knowledge.



Brief Analysis
The message is misleading and inaccurate and has little merit as a security warning. The group the message warns about does exist and it does use malicious tactics to try to inflate its membership. However, the message makes no attempt to explain how these malicious tactics actually works or how users can avoid being tricked into participating. Thus, the warning in its current form is ineffective and is likely to confuse rather than help.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.






Last updated: January 22, 2013
First published: January 22, 2013
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by David White, Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example

ATTENTION:

There is a virus spreading all over and affecting and adding everyone. Please be aware of the group LOVE DESIRE. Someone from your friend's list or friends of your friends gonna add you in this group without her/his knowledge too. This virus is using a tool to spread it in just one click to all of your friends. If they added you please click the small wheel in that page and click report then click spam.scam and leave the group. They have now 137,743 members for only a day. Share this with your friends either playing or not playing mafia wars. The one who added you is also a victim. So let's just help to report this for our computers and game's safety.




Detailed Analysis
According to yet another breathless "warning" message that is currently moving across Facebook, a dastardly virus is "spreading all over", and adding users to a Facebook Group called Love Desire without their knowledge or consent. The garbled message suggests that if a friend joins the group, the "virus" spreads with "just one click" via the friend's contact list adding them to the group as it goes. Supposedly, the virus was thereby able to automatically add more than 137,000 members to the group in just a day.

However, like many others of its ilk, this message is simply too confused, inaccurate and misleading to have much value as a security warning.

The group the message warns about does exist and it does use malicious tactics to try to inflate its membership. It achieves this by tricking people into copying and pasting a javascript into their browser address bar, thereby handing over their Facebook authentication token to the criminals running the group. The stolen token can then be used by the criminals to temporarily hijack the Facebook account and use it to blast out group invites to the friends of the victims.

However, the message makes no attempt to explain how this malicious code works or warn people against following the instructions on the group page. In fact, it does not even get the name of the group right.

Any message or page that claims you must copy a javascript URL into your browser address bar is almost certainly up to no good.

Moreover, describing rogue apps, clickjack scams or malware threats as viruses is misleading and just serves to cause confusion. Such threats are certainly not viruses and should not be referred to as such. Viruses behave very differently to spammy apps, clickjack scams or malware attacks and effective responses to these diverse threats therefore varies accordingly.

Thus, sending on this message in its current form is unlikely to be helpful.

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Last updated: January 22, 2013
First published: January 22, 2013
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
Research by David White, Brett Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer