Scamwatch: malicious Facebook videos

Thousands of Facebook users fall for "sexy" video software scam...

Hack concept with the focus on the return button overlaid with binary code

Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, we explain how fraudsters have targeted more than 110,000 Facebook users with "sexy" videos that - if clicked on - allow the hackers to take control of computers, smartphones or tablets.

How does it work?
This new type of cyber fraud posts video links with pictures of scantily clad women on victims' Facebook pages, tagging 20 of their friends to make it look like a story they think others will enjoy.

But if you click on the video, you will be sent to a webpage that selects the "best" piece of malicious software to target you, depending whether you are viewing the social networking site on a phone, a computer or a games console, for example.

There is a piece of software for all those using the Windows operating system, which is the case for almost nine in 10 desktop computer users.

And anyone who can be hit is sent to a fake Facebook page where they are asked to download a "Flash Player update" that is actually malicious software that can take control of your computer.

This allows the hackers to attack victims in a variety of ways, including downloading malicious programs, removing applications and installing plug-ins.

How can I avoid being caught out?
It is always sensible to think twice to think about clicking on software update links that flash up on your screen.

To avoid being caught out by this scam in particular, it also makes sense to be very wary of any "sexy" video links you are sent via social networking sites - especially if they come from a friend who would not usually suggest you watch content of that kind.

The basic rule is simple: if a link looks suspicious, don't click on it. And even if you think a video link is safe enough to click on, remember to check the URL bar to see whether you are being taken to a spoof site.

If you need a Flash Player update, meanwhile, the best option is to go to Flash Player maker Adobe's website and download it from there.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?
If you think your computer has been the subject of a malicious attack of any kind, it's definitely worth running an online virus scanner, such as the Microsoft Safety Scanner.

It is also important to notify any relevant organisations - such as your bank - that you think there has been an online security breach, and to change your passwords and login details to prevent hackers accessing your accounts.

Related articles...
Scamwatch: Facebook free car fraud
Scamwatch: pension fraud
Scamwatch: dating website fraud

Identity Theft and Tax Fraud: What You Need to Know