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Facebook falls victim to colourful scams

By Leigh D. Stark | 2:03 pm 20/11/2012

Do you use Google’s Chrome browser, and are you an avid Facebook fan? It might be worthwhile checking if your internet security is up to date, with a new scam making the rounds that can apparently change the colour of your Facebook profile.

It’s one of the the tricks of 2012, with scammers and spammers telling you that it’s possible to change to a pink Facebook, or a black Facebook, or a red Facebook, or anything else other than that basic blue Facebook we’re all stuck with.

Like the free gift cards from JB HiFi and calls from Microsoft’s technical department, though, it’s all a lie, and there is no way to change the colour of Facebook, only your cover photo.

But don’t let that fact stop anyone, with the scam resurfacing in an app for Google Chrome, installed from Google’s online web store for its Chrome web browser, and showing off a whole bunch of ads that – you guessed it – make the app maker a bunch of money.

Bitdefender, one of the world’s biggest antivirus companies, clued us into this earlier in the week, with security researcher Liviu Arsene telling GadgetGuy that “around 40,000 Google Chrome users have already been scammed through the ‘Customize Your Colour’ app, but the total amount of installs and users affected could easily be several times greater as they might have uninstalled it after figuring out its true purpose.”

That “true purpose” is unsurprisingly nefarious, with the app reposting itself to Facebook timelines in the hopes that all of your friends and family click on it, where it will link to create blogs built under the name of the victim and attempt to create revenue for the scam artist.

In essence, someone wants to make money from you and your friends by tricking you.

“By creating dozens of blogs for a single account, the scam spreads like wildfire among Facebook friends,” said Catalin Cosoi, Bitdefender’s Chief Security Strategist.

The best way to defend yourself is to not install the Chrome app, but the scam doesn’t just rely solely on your web browser, as it can infect anyone who clicks on it, sending them to one of the scam sites and spreading around.

Security experts are recommending the use of internet security software to protect yourself, and if you don’t have any, to check out one of the many free forms of protection for your social networking, such as Norton’s Safe Web for Facebook and Bitdefender’s Safego.


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