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RockMelt Virus Warning Hoax

Outline
Message circulating on Facebook warns users not to open any message about a new browser called RockMelt because it is a virus.



Brief Analysis
The claims in the warning are false. RockMelt is a new social networking focused web browser. It is not a virus and does not contain malicious content. Depending on the choices that users make when installing the browser, RockMelt may send invitations to people on your Friends list. However, these invitations do not carry a virus.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 16th April 2012
First published: 16th April 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Facebook Alert *****

If you get an instant message from anyone about a new browser called RockMelt- it is a virus. DO NOT OPEN IT. I dont care who sends it. please repost. This is spread to your friends if you open it.

Rockmelt Virus Warning




Detailed Analysis
According to this "warning", which is currently circulating rapidly via Facebook, users should not open any messages they receive about a new browser called RockMelt because the messages contain a virus. The warning claims that opening the message will spread the virus to your friends and asks that people repost the information to warn other users.

However, the claims in the message are utter nonsense and should not be taken seriously. RockMelt is a perfectly legitimate web browser that focuses on social networking. It is certainly not a virus, nor does the software harbour any malicious content.

This false rumour is probably derived from a misunderstanding about the invitations that may be sent to the friends of users who install the RockMelt browser. After users install the browser and login with their Facebook login details, they are presented with an option to send invitations to RockMelt to all of their friends. Users can choose to send invites to only selected friends or to send no invites at all. Quite unwisely, however RockMelt has chosen to have the "send to all friends" checkbox ticked by default. Thus, many users will quickly skip through the process perhaps not even realizing that they have sent messages promoting RockMelt to all of their friends. This unfortunate choice by RockMelt's developers means that it is earning a reputation as a "spammy app". Many people who receive the unsolicited invitations may consider them spam or fear that links in the message point to malicious websites.

Nevertheless, the invitations are exactly what they claim to be. They are not "viruses" nor do links in the messages point to any malicious content. During research for this article, I downloaded RockMelt and tested it extensively. There was no indication that the browser has any malicious intent and security scans did not flag any problems with the software.

RockMelt does require users to provide their Facebook login details as well as login credentials for other social networking platforms that they wish to use in the browser and this has raised some security concerns. Some social networkers may be understandably unwilling to divulge such information to a third party application. But, Rockmelt has addressed these security concerns in detail on its website, and in any case, such security issues give no credence whatsoever to the false claims in the above warning message.

Thus, the warning has no validity and sending on such blatant misinformation will help nobody.

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References
Rockmelt Virus Warning Hoax
RockMelt Privacy FAQ

Last updated: 16th April 2012
First published: 16th April 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer