In the tech world, the phrase “gets better with time” is rarely, if ever, used. Hackers may be the only exception to that rule, and they seem to be on a faster learning curve than Facebook.
A video scam has been circulating on Facebook since Tuesday, tricking users into downloading and installing software by offering up a video of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. On Wednesday, hackers switched the bait to what was supposed to be a saucy video of Hayden Panettiere and Rhianna. Both video links actually lead to a website that attempts to install fake security software.
On a PC, victims are told that they should install the newest version of Adobe Flash Player to watch the video, but instead end up with the fake antivirus program installed on their computer. Mac users, on the other hand, see a pop-up window asking if they’d like to fix or ignore some security issues. Once the user clicks “fix,” the fake software is installed.
From there, things get pretty heinous. The software sends pop-up messages with scary warning messages and then takes the victim to a porn site every five minutes. The only way to stop the boob bombardment is to pay a $60-$80 fee, which apparently puts the software to sleep for good, according to Sophos researcher Chet Wisniewski. Antivirus vendor Sophos was the first company to discover the scam on Tuesday.
If you don’t cough up the cash, porn sites will continue to appear on your computer every five minutes, and links to the original malicious videos will be posted to your Facebook wall. It’s unclear why Facebook hasn’t been able to stop the spread of this malware, but it’s possible that hackers are using new tricks to get past Facebook’s scam filtering systems. A Facebook spokesperson on Wednesday had no answer as to why the scam was so difficult to stop, but did say that the social network was “in the process of investigating, blocking the links, and remediating any affected users.”