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Facebook Fan Check scareware begets malign ware-scares

How very meta

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Searching for information about a supposed virus threat affecting Facebook might itself be hazardous.

The blogosphere was alive with talk (here and here) about an application called "Facebook Fan Check" and the possible threat it might pose. However, searching for the term "Facebook Fan Check Virus" might itself be hazardous, after hackers established websites posing as information about the supposed threat, but actually designed to push scareware (fake anti-virus) software.

These sites display false warnings about supposed threats on the PCs of visiting surfers in a bid to trick them into buying at best worthless, or perhaps even downright damaging, software.

UK-based security firm Sophos is among those in the process of analysing the threat. In the meantime it has already added detection for the scareware packages being peddled through the scam as well as the sites associated with the ruse.

It's unclear at his point whether a Fan Check malware risk actually exists. What is much more certain is that the term "Facebook Fan Check Virus" has become a trending topic for black-hat search engine optimisation.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said early indications suggest a parallel between the malign buzz established around a Facebook application called "Error Check System" back in February and that surrounding "Fan Check" this week.

Error Check System performed no malign activity beyond spreading around the social networking site and annoying people in the process. ®

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