Social media has become very popular these days that almost everything you read from it seems so credible. The problem begins when one day you just woke up knowing that you have become the next victim of social engineering. Of course, Facebook Messenger is not an exception to this scam.
In a recent incident, it was found out that an adware campaign was used to trick victims to install malware. Victims are lured into Facebook Messenger where they would receive messages but redirect them to fake versions of famous websites intended to the browser they are using.
The said modus operandi was able to spread malware through the popular Facebook Messenger, which serves multi-platform adware/malware. This was done using various domains that would earn clicks but would also prevent tracking. According to a senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, the code that the perpetrators are using are advanced and complicated.
The victim allegedly receives a message from a known friend or contact from Facebook. So, the initial reaction of the victim would be to trust the message and would click into what appears to be some form of memes, videos, or any other content. The user would receive a message with their name and followed by the word Video together with an emoji face with shortened URL.
As the victim clicks the video, the said malware will be redirected to various websites, which would be depended on the browser, location, or operating system. The said site will try to persuade the victim to install the adware. For instance, a user of Google Chrome would be sent a message to look like YouTube, having the official branding and logo. However, the website would show the visitor an error message that would trick them to download a extension from Google Chrome that is malicious in nature.
Users of Mozilla Firefox would also be redirected to a website that would display a fake notice to lure you into a fake Flash Update. Thus, it attempts to run an executable file for Windows that would deliver the adware. For Safari users, they are able to receive a similar page that is customized for Mac operating system. The victim will then be lured into downloading a .dmg file, which is suspected as adware.
The said adware apps will be able to track activities of the browser by using cookies and would display targeted ads all over the Internet. The moment the user would click one of the ads, it will gain revenue for people who worked behind this scheme.
In cases like these, it is recommended by experts that users need to check and be very careful when you encounter shortened URL links that friends from Facebook have sent you. According to a spokesperson from Facebook, the company is maintaining some automated systems in order to help put an end to harmful links as well as files that appear on Facebook Messenger.
Facebook is also offering free antivirus scans from trusted partners. If you are doubtful about the message you have just received, then it is important to scan the content before opening it to avoid becoming the next victim.