Bogus hoax on Facebook

This time regarding the Christmas tree application.

Thousands of Facebook users are warning each other about a Christmas Tree virus said to be spreading in the form of a rogue application on the social network.

The only problem with this warning? It’s utterly bogus.

Here’s a typical message being shared widely on Facebook:

WARNING!!!!!!.....DO NOT USE THE Christmas tree app. on Facebookplease be advised it will crash your computer. Geek squad says its oneof the WORST trojan-viruses there is and it is spreading quickly.Re-post and let your friends know. THANKS PLEASE REPOST!

Users believe they’re doing the right thing when they share warnings like this – but unfortunately they haven’t checked their facts. Although anyone could at any time create a rogue application with the name “Christmas Tree” of course, we’re not aware of any malware which uses this disguise.

Furthermore, since when was Geek Squad a reliable source for information about new malware? Wouldn’t you be more sensible to check with an established anti-virus company? A legitimate warning would at the very least have included some links to further information – such as a statement on Geek Squad’s website.

Graham makes a great point when it comes to sharing virus warnings: take the time to make sure it is credible before doing so.

Two things can occur if said advice isn’t followed.  The first is that misinformation (ie hoaxes) tends to live forever in the name of “doing the right thing.”  The second is that the chances of a legitimate threat being ignored could increase significantly.

Ironically, the hoax is probably spreading much faster than any of the genuine commonly encountered Facebook viruses at the moment.

And that isn’t good.

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About brvanlanen

Just a thirty-something guy currently hanging it up in the greater Green Bay area. My post-high school educational background is mainly in the Information Technology field. Specifically I have an A.A.S. in Computer Network Systems and a B.S. in Information Systems Security, both from ITT Technical Institute, in addition to A and MCDST certifications. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking and sports. My Christian faith is also important to me as a Missouri-Synod Lutheran and all my children attend a Lutheran grade school. When it comes to political leanings I am a conservative first and foremost which you will discover rather quickly. As for sports I am a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers.

Posted on November 23, 2010, in attacks, Facebook, Hoaxes, Security tips, Social Networking, virus and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Bogus hoax on Facebook.

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