February 22, 2010 – There is a computer virus that is spread through the social networking forum, facebook circles. Purveyors of this virus are using a technique in internet security domain called social engineering.
The idea is to play with human psychology and dupe would-be victims into performing actions that are detrimental to them or their computing systems.
In particular, the suppliers of this virus are impersonnating one of your facebook friends identity (especially those of the opposite sex) and then sends a message enticing you to open a certain website link.
I experienced this on Sunday (reference the caption) and had ignored it as an isolated case with no cause for alarm. I decided to research on it when I saw a friend status message issuing a disclaimer that she had not sent any message to her male friends directing them to some site.
The immediate danger spawned by this virus is not easily discernible. Once the link is open, some behind-the-scene tasks execute in your system and stealthly install the virus. The installed malicious code acts as a gateway for the hackers to your computer. The hackers assign themselves the role of an administator and go ahead to steal all the information stored in the computer.
There is a robber who once said during a litigation “ I rob banks because that is where the money is.” Same goes with hackers. They target computers because they know that is our primary data storage tool. Ranging form passswords and PINs to corporate mails and other communications are initially stored in the computer.
To stay safe, the rule of the thumb is: DO NOT OPEN any website link WITHOUT CONFIRMING with the sender that they actually sent the link.
Many might ignore this as a hoax, but remember it’s inept to accept any information without authenticating the source. This goes for messages received in your other accounts like yahoo mail, corporate mail et al.
After all, no one wants to reveal their passwords or PINs to spouses, stalkers, mpango wa kando or worse still a sex maniac seated in a far-flung country preying on you. Finally, lets not forget the mama whale’s advice to her baby: “ remember, it is only when you spout off that you get harpooned.”