In the wake of the recent headlines about privacy concerns and the widespread “sexiest video ever” malware attack against Facebook users earlier this week, I’ve been keeping a close eye on the messages people post publicly to see how they’re coping, and what general advice they give to each other about security and privacy issues.
One of the things I’ve noticed is a growing number of people sharing a joke virus warning with eachother.
A typical version reads:
Another Virus is Spreading Like Wild Fire on FACEBOOK. IT'S CALLED "STUPIDITY". It makes U join FAKE FAN PAGES Promising FREE STUFF 4 Your Games. This Virus Spreads to ALL Ur Friends and they TOO Become Stupid. There is No Known Cure For this as of YET, Only Precaution is When Someone Invites U to become a FAN...JUST CLICK 'IGNORE' or better- 'BLOCK'. COPY & REPOST THIS WARNING SO OTHERS ARE SAFE FROM "STUPIDITY"
Hopefully I don’t need to tell any regular Clu-blog readers that this isn’t a genuine virus warning. Rather like the Amish, Badtimes and Irish virus hoaxes, this “Stupidity” alert is being sent around Facebook as a joke.
And there is a serious point behind the humour. There’s a growing problem of fake pages being created on Facebook, luring unsuspecting users into believing that they will be able to view illicit pictures of stars such as Cheryl Cole and Justin Bieber or get their paws on a free iPad.
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The irony is, of course, that I’ve been able to view the “Stupidity virus” warnings posted by these Facebook users – despite not being friends of theirs. That would be impossible if they’d set their privacy options correctly.
So, while they’re being very “smart” sharing the joke around – they’ve actually demonstrated that they’ve been rather lax with their own security.
If you’re a Facebook addict, you might want to join the Sophos page on Facebook and ensure you are kept up-to-date with the latest security news.