By Rishi Sharma
The last week has seen a growing malware epidemic, and unlike many other malware programs, there is a great chance that you have encountered this virus.
A Facebook Messenger virus was was prevalent in high frequencies in the last week. The virus is distributed through the means of Facebook messages. This does not mean that the recipient’s account has been affected, but it has the potential to. These messages contain captions similar to “Here’s a video of you,” or “It’s you?”. Along with the message, will be an attachment. Designed like an authentic Facebook video, it may be intriguing to click on the attachment. Upon clicking it, a virus is released into the device. The virus serves 2 purposes:
- To get access to the recipient’s Facebook account in order to further spread the virus through the means of Messenger.
- To use the infected device as a cryptocurrency-mining station.
Essentially, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin store their transactions in what are said to be blockchains. These blockchains need a hardware to run on. Users can voluntarily sign up to have their device’s hardware to run these, and in turn, they get “rewarded” in terms of the cryptocurrency. This is called cryptocurrency mining. This virus uses the infected device’s hardware to mine cryptocurrencies. The reward, however, will go to the initiator of the virus, and not the user of the device. Since it will be using the infected device’ hardware, slow device performance and loss of storage space are expected.
The message containing the virus looks similar to this:
“The virus only affects the Chrome browser on a desktop,” as reported by Jasper Hammill Metro. Moreover, it does not spread throughout an internet connection or a server and which browser you receive it on; however, it is advised not to click on the attachment at all.
The virus, called “Sorpampa”, has been active since 2014; however, DAA students have been receiving messages with the virus embedded in them in large numbers recently. Out of 55 students surveyed, 29 students have received them but have not clicked on the attachment, while 3 students have received them and have clicked on the attachment.
Facebook has produced an official statement regarding this issue, which reads “We maintain a number of automated systems to help stop harmful links and files from appearing on Facebook and in Messenger. If we suspect your computer is infected with malware, we will provide you with a free anti-virus scan from our trusted partners. We share tips on how to stay secure and links to these scanners on facebook.com/help.”
Apart from the Sorpampa virus, there are other problems that are haunting the tech world.
Very recently, the iOS update 11.2.5 was released by Apple. A major flaw was embedded in the update. When the device recognizes a special symbol, the device switches off and its performance begins to deteriorate. An image of the symbol is attached below. Note that since this is just an image, it will not harm any devices running iOS 11.2.5.
Apple was quick in recognizing this flaw and within two days, the update 11.2.6 was released, which fixed this bug. The installation of the new update is highly recommend.
The growing usage of technology comes with many dangers. Given that devices are also used to make payments, to communicate, to store files, and more, it is necessary to stay aware and cautious of malware and bugs in devices.