In early June 2015, online security analysts were keeping a close eye on an interest piece of malware quickly spreading across the Internet. The cyber threat, known as the Moose Worm, seeks to take advantage of security flaws in home routers for the purpose of intercepting login credentials for social media accounts, particularly Facebook.
At first glance, the Moose Worm seems to be a malware virus designed to steal information for the purpose of identity theft; however, its true purpose is a bit more complex. Once the Moose Worm has intercepted a Facebook password from the router, it will surreptitiously enter a Facebook account for the purpose of following and “liking” specific fake profiles that have been created by hacker groups. Once these fake Facebook accounts have created a certain degree of trust from unsuspecting followers, they are used to perpetrate scams.
The Moose Worm is only one of many new malware threats aimed at taking advantage of Facebook users. To make their social network a safer place for users, Facebook has a number of security measures in place, including a malware detection system that remotely looks for signs of a malware infection. Through a special partnership with two established, well-respected developers of Internet security products, Facebook notifies users with a conspicuous pop-up message that advises about the potential presence of malware and directs them to freely download a scan and repair solution.
Facebook’s own system of malware protection can be replicated by individual users at home by installing trustworthy Internet security suites and keeping them up-to-date. This must be done for each desktop, laptop and mobile device used to access Facebook. In addition to this protective measure, Facebook users must also keep in mind that safe browsing habits can go a long way in protecting against malware. For example, the Moose Worm mentioned above takes advantage of popular wireless routers that ship with a default password.
Choosing strong passwords for home routers and Facebook profiles is the first line of defense against malware. Learning to recognize spam and pop-up windows that come up when leaving a browser page, and which may be designed to look like error messages generated by the operating system, is also essential. Oftentimes, malware attacks are created for the purpose of augmenting spam campaigns; to this effect, it is important that Facebook users learn to recognize and flag or report posts that are suspicious of being spam.