Facebook Messenger is one of the most used platforms by cyber criminals to spread adware and trojans, here's how to spot them and how to defend yourself
Facebook Messenger is one of the most used messaging services in the world. This fame is synonymous with an easily manageable app with several functions. But the large number of users is also an aspect that attracts many cyber criminals. And, in fact, the Facebook app is often affected by malware and viruses.
Most of the malware spread on Facebook exploits the messaging app itself. While the social platform is used by cyber criminals to commit identity theft, generate fake news and create traffic to their sites or steal confidential information, the Messenger app is used to spread malware, especially Trojans and adware, to less savvy users. Hackers almost always use social engineering techniques to convince users to install viruses themselves.
How to Recognize Messenger Malware
One of the most popular malware on Messenger is the one related to a fake video with our name on it. Basically one of our contacts sends us a message with our name followed by the word "Video", with hyperlink, plus an emoji. If we click on Video we will infect our device. Once we click on the link we will, in fact, open a new page where we will find a photo taken from our profile. The malware has been structured in such a way that the user is not aware of the impending danger. At first glance, it looks almost like one of those images that Facebook occasionally alerts us to with the Memories feature. The photo in the middle has a small Play icon, like the ones used to start a video. It is a pity, however, that if we click on that icon, no video will start, but the malware will be downloaded automatically. In other cases, however, the video does not start and a message appears asking us to update the video viewing tool. Obviously, if we accept, we will not download a new version of any software already installed on the PC, but we will simply install the virus.
How the malware works
Facebook Messenger malware works differently depending on the web browser used. Mozilla Firefox browser users will see a fake Adobe Flash tool update notification. On Chrome, on the other hand, we are redirected to a fake YouTube page where we are asked to update an extension in order to view the video correctly. Users with MacOS and Linux computers, on the other hand, are directly asked to download a file to play the video.
How to remove the malware
If we have accidentally installed the malware we can uninstall it, fortunately, in a few steps. If we have Chrome we need to remove the malicious extension. To do that we just go to Settings, scroll through the whole menu and click Advanced. In the new page we scroll to the end and click Restore. If, on the other hand, we have installed the virus on Mac, Linux or Mozilla Firefox browser, we have to turn to the antivirus and run a thorough scan. Once the malware is found, the software will ask us whether to delete it and we have to confirm. In this way we will have solved the problem. The advice to defend against malware like this is always the same: do not click on links of dubious origin and never open attachments without asking questions first.