With more than 3,7-million South Africans interacting on Facebook daily, users are being warned to exercise extreme caution as viruses like Yimfoca.AA and Fbphotofake are spreading fast worldwide.
The Yimfoca.AA worm uses Facebook chat to attack, while Fbphotofake is a social engineering worm which distributes itself and other malware through spam Facebook messages.
"Yimfoca.AA serves as a backdoor that can be controlled remotely, quickly spreading through other instant messaging software like Skype, MSN or Yahoo Messenger," says Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO of ESET Southern Africa.
The Yimfoca.AA virus is also able to download and run other malicious software posted online including fake antivirus software changing user security settings or deactivating the Windows firewall.
Meanwhile, the Fbphotofake worm primarily distributes Facebook spam.
With 3,7-million active South African Facebook users – 82% of whom view videos and links sent by their friend – social networks have become the new breeding ground for viruses in South Africa, says Van Vlaanderen.
Online users have learnt to be suspicious of unknown links and attachments in their e-mails. However, links and applications sent by friends are trusted, which is why virus writers are targeting vulnerable social networks.
"Part of the problem is that the Facebook culture is anti-security and that is a very tough obstacle for security professionals,” Van Vlaanderen says. “Always be sure about the identity of the sender or the instant messenger, or the content of the Facebook message. It is up to the individual to ensure that they are protected against any virus attacks by installing antivirus software equipped to detect and block malware like Yimfoca.AA and Fbphotofake before they compromise social networking sites like Facebook."