Invitation Facebook warning spreads Olympic torch virus hoax

Filed Under: Facebook, Featured, Malware, Social networks, Spam

Olympic TorchFacebook users are once again warning their online friends about a threat - the only problem this time is that it doesn't really exist.

Messages are being sent across Facebook by well-intentioned Facebook users advising their friends to beware a virus that could "burn the whole hard disc.. C of your computer" while displaying an Olympic Torch.

A virus that actually physically burns your whole hard disk? Wow.. that sounds nasty. Especially if you're resting a notebook on your lap at the time.

Could it even be possible? After all, you might have vaguely heard about how hackers might be able to set fire to your MacBook's battery recently.

The truth is that the warning being spread on Facebook is nonsense, and although users are sounding the alarm to their online friends, they are actually doing nothing more than perpetuating a virus myth.

Here's what a typical warning message posted on Facebook looks like:

Olympic Torch Facebook virus hoax

In the coming days, you should be aware! Do not open any message with an attachment called: Invitation FACEBOOK, regardless of who sent it.
It is a virus that opens an Olympic torch that burns the whole hard ...disc C of your computer.
This virus will be received from someone you had in your address book .. If you receive a mail called: Invitation FACEBOOK, though sent by a friend,


Sound familiar? It did to me.

After all, there has been an "Olympic Torch" hoax (albeit one that doesn't mention Facebook) doing the rounds for over five years already.

So what seems to have happened here is that a hoax has made the jump from traditional email to social networking site, and gained a Facebook-related element at the same time.

Remember to always get your computer security advice from a computer security company. Friends may be well-intentioned in passing on warnings, but it's always good to check your facts before forwarding them any further.

If you want to learn about the real threats on Facebook you should join the Sophos Facebook page, where we'll keep you up-to-date on the latest rogue applications, scams and malware attacks threatening social network users.

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11 Responses to Invitation Facebook warning spreads Olympic torch virus hoax

  1. Karen · 1520 days ago

    Would you happen to know anything about 'Better Facebook'?

    I've noticed, just tonight, that when I go to a few pages (friend profiles, help section, or whatever) I get a box at the top of the screen, with a big yellow light globe icon upper left, asking me if I want to update my facebook account to 'Better Facebook', and if so, to click on the 'Install' button (a big green button), or click 'Ok' if I don't wish to update.

    The link attached to the 'Install' button (when I hover my mouse-over) leads to a '' URL. I have no idea what it is, if it is really part of a facebook update? or a scam/hack attempt? I have not read anywhere that facebook is doing any updates to accounts. I have not clicked on anything, and just close that page and go elsewhere.

    I have also noticed that my account keeps getting kicked off 'secure browsing' for some reason (started happening earlier today, before this box began appearing.

  2. This threat was around for years. I can't believe people still fall for it!

  3. John · 1519 days ago

    So funny!!

  4. Angelo · 1508 days ago

    "always good to check your facts before forwarding them any further"

    Google is your friend. ;)

  5. Renae · 1475 days ago

    How do we warn our kids not to click on these potential viruses. What would be the best way to handle that?

    • Best advice I can give is to check links or clickable pictures within emails or in the web browser are valid before you click them. To do this mouse over the link or picture, it should display the real address. For example If the Link says and when you mouse over the address it shows a different domain don't click it! Don't Pay for anything you do not want! In a web browser if it says it has found viruses, spyware or found anything on your computer, do not click anything in the window and close the window by the outer cross on the window you can also do alt F4 to close.__Windows 7 has parental controls which is handy.__Also netnanny is good.__You will also need an up-to-date virus checker, link checker, antispyware and firewall if you don't have these already.__If you start getting pop-up's all of the time, don't use the machine until it is cleansed.__Keep your operating system and applications up-to-date. Hope this helps!

  6. Gene · 1444 days ago

    The "virus" is the Warning itself, which if passed along will clog the Web with worthless e-mails.

  7. This is a Hoax

  8. mas · 1352 days ago

    Any message that tells you to 'send this to all your friends' ... is bound to be a hoax virus. That's their modus operandi - send it on!

  9. esns · 972 days ago

    What if... you use drive D:?

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, 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. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley