Use Facebook on a Windows computer? Watch out for a dangerous Trojan virus that can empty your bank account. An old malware cyber threat known as “Zeus” has resurfaced on social media to target Facebook users with fake Fan pages and fraudulent links.
If you think Facebook is a safe haven where malware and viruses don’t exist, you might want think again. The “Zeus” Trojan virus is rampaging through the pages of Facebook. What’s even worse is that the malware has been circulating since 2007.
Is your online bank account safe? Read on to find out more about the Zeus virus going around on Facebook, and how you can make sure that you’re protecting your identity when using social media.
The Zeus Virus Is Nothing New
One of the most alarming facts about the Zeus virus is how long it’s been active on Facebook. The social network insists that it is constantly screening its profiles and pages for malware in a very active way.
When contacted about the Zeus virus, Facebook indicated that users could visit certain resources to have their computers screened for malware.
Since its inception six years ago, the Zeus Trojan has gone on to infect millions of computers. The virus has been most closely linked with Russian cyber criminals, but the majority of its victims have been social media users in the United states.
Efforts at combating this type of malware are clearly failing, as online security firms have been noticing more and more social media viruses showing up on the Internet recently. The New York Times offers a little more info:
“According to researchers at security firm Trend Micro, incidents of Zeus have risen steadily this year and peaked in May.”
How the Zeus Trojan on Facebook Robs You Blind
The Zeus Trojan on Facebook is also disturbing because it’s an especially tricky virus. It’s a Trojan horse virus, which means that it’s a non-replicating type of malware. (Most viruses are “self-replicating” programs which means that they continue to duplicate themselves and spread to other machines.)
Trojan horse viruses disguise themselves as something beneficial or desirable. When clicked, however, they secretly install themselves on the user’s computer and wreak havoc behind the scenes. Trojan viruses can steal your password or grant hackers access to your system.
The Zeus virus takes this to another level: it can literally steal your money.
Once it makes its way onto a computer, Zeus essentially lies in wait until the user accesses a bank website. When this happens, Zeus gets to work. It gains access to bank accounts by stealing passwords when users log in, then it sets about draining those accounts.
In some cases, it even tricks users with fake bank websites. This allows it to steal other information, like Social Security numbers. These are then sold on the black market to identity thieves and other criminals.
How to Avoid the Zeus Virus on Facebook
A smart policy to adapt for Facebook in general is to avoid suspicious pages.
As it turns out, Zeus has been making its way onto many users’ machines by impersonating Facebook Fan pages. NFL Fan pages in particular are very popular hosts for the Zeus virus, including one called “Bring the NFL to Los Angeles.”
As is often the case with scams on the Internet, remember that if it looks suspicious, it probably is. Don’t click links that seem out of place, poorly put-together, or contain obvious spelling and/or grammatical errors.
Fake websites run by scammers are often very low quality compared to legitimate professional sites. Always keep antivirus software up-to-date and installed on your computer and be sure to connect to the Internet through a secure web connection whenever you’re banking online or sending other secure information.
Do you have any tips for avoiding malware on Facebook or otherwise? Share with us in the comments.
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