The KoobFace Virus and Other Evils
Well! My last article that mentioned the word “beer” evidently touched a nerve with some people here in the Shoals. I have since discovered that the mere mention of the evil beverage results in angry comments from both my regular readers. That development dashed my idea for what was sure to be a Pulitzer Prize-winning article on the addictive new Blackberry smart phone nicknamed “Crackberry.” So, as a result, y’all are stuck with the following boring article on a cool new virus called the Koobface.
I love FaceBook. This amazing technology has allowed me to spend entirely too much time trading insults with long-lost childhood friends from around the country and around the world. My oldest son recently travelled out west for a few weeks and was able to keep his family abreast of his activities with pictures and videos. I have become “friends” with a few famous people such as Neal Degrasse Tyson (a famous astronomer) and The Amazing Randi and actually exchange messages with them. I’m even friends with Carl Sagan who has been dead for over a decade. How cool is that?
But FaceBook has a dark side that has been a boon to the “sailboat acquisition” segment of my Geekonomic Stimulus Plan. This Dark Side is called the KoobFace viris – an anagram of the word Facebook. This article deals primarily with Facebook but the same thing infects MySpace users.
This virus is not really new. It was first discovered back in August of last year but for unknown reasons it started hitting our local customers pretty hard in just the last month. Koobface spreads by delivering Facebook messages to people that are 'friends' of someone on Facebook whose computer has already been infected. The messages contain innocuous subject headers such as "Paris Hilton Tosses Dwarf On The Street", "LOL", and "My friend catched [sic] you on hidden cam".
If you click on the link in this message, you will be directed to a website unaffiliated with Facebook which will entice you to download what is purported to be an update of the Adobe Flash player. If you download and execute the file, you will infect your computer with Koobface. Koobface then commandeers internet your surfing activities and directs you to contaminated websites whenever you attempt to access search engines from Google, Yahoo, MSN and Live.com. Koobface can also download fake antivirus programs and other cool things so we really aren’t sure what it will do next.
Once you get this thing, it can be difficult to remove. Facebook has instructions on their website at www.facebook.com/security along with some links to download free software that might remove it. If you become infected, it certainly won’t hurt to try to remove the thing yourself but our experience is that it is very difficult for the average user to remove it.
So be careful out there FaceBook friends. If you do happen to get this thing, be sure to change your password ASAP, call somebody that can fix it for you and chill out with a nice cold . . . Kool-Aid.