Cyber criminals often take advantage of people’s curiosity to phish sensitive information. Last week, cyber criminals used the news of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s impending divorce to launch a phishing campaign against Facebook users. The attack linked to a fake Fox News report claiming celebrity Brad Pitt took his own life in order to trick users into loading a malicious web page. Once visited, the page requested Facebook permissions to view the user’s Facebook profile.
Facebook states that links to the hoax article were posted on compromised accounts by a malicious browser extension. This isn’t the first time that cyber criminals have used malicious browser extensions to launch attacks via Facebook. Earlier this year, a different attack used a malicious Chrome extension to download malware and spread itself automatically via Facebook posts.
It’s not uncommon for these types of phishing websites to also host exploit kits for dropping malware onto the victim’s computer. While this particular attack appears to only steal information available on the victim’s public Facebook profile, Facebook still advises those who visited the link to change their account password and scan their computer for malware infections.
Users should always be mindful of the links they click, whether they be from a Facebook post, another website, or an email. Phishing attacks can be cleverly disguised and simply visiting a malicious link is sometimes enough to infect your computer with malware if your browser and browser plug-ins are not up-to-date with the latest security patches. For Facebook specifically, users should review the permissions requested by links and apps posted on the site. While some links have a legitimate (or at least a non-malicious) need for certain permissions, it can still be an easy way for an attacker to obtain sensitive or private information from you. –Marc Laliberte
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