Bobby Roberts hacker chain letter spreads quickly on Facebook

Filed Under: Facebook, Social networks, Spam

Facebook users are spreading a message to their online friends, warning each other about the danger of accepting a friend request from someone called Bobby Roberts.

According to the message, which has been shared widely across the social network, Bobby Roberts is a hacker who will "destroy everything".

WARNING!!!! DO NOT ACCEPT FRIEND REQUESTS FROM ~~~ BOBBY ROBERTS

**WARNING!!!! DO NOT ACCEPT FRIEND REQUESTS FROM ~~~ BOBBY ROBERTS ~~~ Profile picture is four colored pictures ~~ A hacker and fake name !!!! the name will DESTROY EVERYTHING!!! PLEASE... COPY THIS TEXT ON YOUR STATUS SO THAT YOUR FRIENDS ARE WARNED************* PASS THIS ALONG A.S.A.P

Should you be concerned? I don't think so.

You see, the information included in the warning is rather unhelpful.

First of all, this guy's name. Bobby Roberts. It's not exactly an unusual name is it. How are people supposed to know the dangerous Bobby Roberts from harmless Bobby Robertses (Robertsi?). What if you know someone on Facebook called Bob Roberts or Rob Roberts or Robbie Roberts or Robert Roberts - should you be careful about adding them as friends too?

Facebook add friendOf course, it's sensible never to add someone as a Facebook friend if you don't really know them. Indeed, my view is that everybody should grab a dictionary and look up the word "friend", because if you don't know them and wouldn't have them around for dinner in your house, you shouldn't make them a Facebook friend.

But just being warned about a specific name isn't terribly helpful.

Secondly, how exactly does the fake name "destroy everything"? Adding someone as a Facebook friend doesn't destroy anything - although it might allow a stranger to access some of your profile information.

Emily Dickinson - on your KindleIt certainly doesn't install malware onto your computer (they would have to do something further to achieve that goal).

And what do they mean by everything? Your Facebook profile? Your computer? That small potting shed at the bottom of your garden? The collected works of Emily Dickinson (Kindle Edition)?

C'mon "destroy everything" doesn't seem very scientific.

Finally, where's the link to a credible legitimate third party source for this warning? If the warning included a link to an anti-virus vendor's website where people could learn more, then maybe we would be able to take this threat a little more seriously.

So the real problem here is not someone who's created a bogus Facebook account in the name of "Bobby Roberts", but that so many users are forwarding the warning to all of their Facebook friends without properly considering whether it is legitimate or not.

And as a result, those users are unwittingly scaring their friends and family and adding to the amount of spam and noise on the network.

Stop sharing this hoax warning with your friends - it's not doing them any good, and it doesn't make you look very smart either.

Security should be taken seriously, and it's great that people are kind-hearted enough to think of warning others. But take the time to think twice before spreading a hoax message to your friends.

If you want to really stay informed about the latest scams spreading fast across Facebook and other internet attacks join the Sophos Facebook page, where more than 100,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

We've also published some good best practices for better privacy and security on Facebook.

And don't forget to visit the hoax and chain letter section of the main Sophos website to learn more about internet hoaxes we have seen in the past.

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8 Responses to Bobby Roberts hacker chain letter spreads quickly on Facebook

  1. Richard Wall · 1315 days ago

    I bet it started legitimately because some idiot accepted Bobbie Roberts who is probably real and innocent, then in another tab got a drive by virus and thought it was Bobbie. Personally I feel sorry for Bobbie.

    We should just make our own private WAN where you have to prove you are a IT literate sensible individual to get in. I could be a club, with rings and secret handshakes and encryption.......... :-p

    Just think, secure data, everyone on it is virus clean and doesn't share personal info. No-one would try to hack it as its full of those who will be the most difficult targets. Problem solved.

  2. Son of Bad Times · 1315 days ago

    If you receive an Email with the subject line "Badtimes" delete it IMMEDIATELY, WITHOUT READING it. This is the most dangerous Email virus yet.

    Not only will it completely rewrite your hard drive, but it will scramble any disks that are even close to your computer. It also demagnetises the strips on your credit cards. It reprograms your ATM access code, screws up the tracking on your VCR and uses subspace field harmonics to scratch any CD's you try to play. It will recalibrate your refrigerator's coolness settings so all your ice cream melts and your milk curdles. It will give your ex-boy/girlfriend your new phone number. This virus will mix antifreeze into your fish tank. It will drink all your beer. It will even leave dirty socks on the coffee table when you are expecting company.

    It will hide your car keys when you are late for work and interfere with your car radio reception so you hear only static while stuck in traffic. When executed "Badtimes" will give you nightmares about circus midgets. It will replace your shampoo with Nair and deodorant with Surface Spray. It will give you Dutch Elm Disease and Tinea. If the "Badtimes" message is opened in a Windows95 environment, it will leave the toilet seat up and leave your hairdryer plugged in dangerously close to a full bathtub.

    It will not only remove the forbidden tags from your mattresses and pillows, but it will refill your skim milk with whole milk. It has been known to disregard 'Open This End' labels and can make you 'Push' a door that says 'Pull' and vice versa. It is insidious and subtle. It is dangerous and terrifying to behold. It is also a rather interesting shade of mauve. These are just a few signs.

    You have been warned!

  3. Richard Wall · 1315 days ago

    I know, its a "Cunning Plan"... we tell everyone not to add Bobbie Roberts then send a request from Robbie Boberts and they will be sure to accept.

    Oh, its from Robbie Boberts, I'm sure he's fine to add.

  4. libbie · 1314 days ago

    Dude...funny AND informative!
    WTG!

  5. nonamy campbell · 1314 days ago

    that's so old.. got that on ICQ maybe 5 years before... why do people believe that?

  6. aemerg · 1306 days ago

    Why is it that EVERYTHING I read on your page, tells us that we facebookers are tapping into a hoax or a scam?????? Is it because you're behind it all in the first place?

  7. Angie G · 1171 days ago

    I have been personally been enjoying the messages coming to my inbox that say in the subject box ".....your account will be hacked.....". I do not recall the beginning of the subject line because I deleted the messages. Gotta love facebook.

  8. It cracks me up that you'd only befriend 'friends' ..what's the point?! Just call them! Not one of the people who have 5000 friends here on FB had 5000 friends to friend, Friend!

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.