A new virus hoax is spreading on Facebook, shared by well-intentioned users who believe they are warning their friends and family about a threat - but, in reality, are just adding to the noise.
The “Death Age” virus hoax has been spread far and wide across the social network by users, unaware of the difference between a warning about a rogue spammy application and a genuine virus threat.
Here’s an example of a typical warning that is being shared on the network.
ATTENTION EVERYONE WHO CAN SEE THIS PLEASE READ THERES A FACEBOOK VIRUS CALLES DEATH AGE A FIREY SKULL WITH THE AGE YOU SUPPOSEDLY LIVE UNTIL WITH ONE COMMENT TO A LINK DO NOT FOLLOW IT!!! IT POSTS TO EVERYTHING YOU BELONG TO I SWEAR TO EVERYTHING THATS TRUTH COPY, PASTE AND SHARE THIS POST HURRY IVE ALREADY BEEN INFECTED AND ITS POSTING ME EVERYWHERE AND ITS NOT ME
However, as HoaxSlayer points out, the warning is misleading. Rather than a virus, it is actually warning about a rogue Facebook application which *could* post messages from your Facebook account, but only if you have granted it permission to access your account.
Of course, you should always be careful about what applications you allow to connect with your Facebook profile, and revoke the rights of anything that you find suspicious.
Don’t forget - if there was a *real* virus spreading on Facebook, disguised as a “firey skull” you would surely be able to read about it on legitimate security websites!
There is value in reminding your friends about the threats which exist on Facebook, and the need for care when clicking on links and installing third-party Facebook applications, but the particular warning being distributed at the moment is likely to do more harm than good with its misinformation.
If you are on Facebook, and want to be kept updated with news about security and privacy risks, and tips on how to protect yourself online, join the Graham Cluley Security News Facebook page.