The Koobface Worm

Ouch. Koobface hurts.

Last week my computer was infected by what is fast becoming one of the most notorious monsters in cyberworld. Koobface, a software virus referred to as a worm, spreads through Facebook, a very popular social networking site with over 120 million subscribers. The worm sends messages to Facebook subscribers’ inboxes, pretending to be from a fellow Facebook friend. Messages generally say something like “you look funny in this new video” or “check out this sexy video of you.” After clicking on the link provided, the subscriber is asked to watch a “secret video by Tom,” or something of the like. Then, when the subscriber tries to play the video, he is asked to download the latest version of Adobe Flash Player. If he chooses to update, Koobface takes hold and won’t let go.

Several articles have been written about the Koobface virus in the past two weeks, including pieces on the Times Online, the L.A. Times, Scientific American and the Washington Post.

I still can’t believe I fell for it. I like to think it was merely a feeling of invincibility, or maybe detached naivety. All this talk about viruses…I just though it would never actually happen to me.

Well it did, and the purpose of this post is to stop it from happening to you. Seconds after I foolishly agreed to let a hokey-at-best and sinister-at-worst site update my Flash player so I could take a peak at a video I was quite sure did not exist, my Facebook account sent false messages out to all 259 of my friends. As I watched my screen — helplessly frozen out of my computer — I saw messages being sent from my Facebook account. There was nothing I could do. When it finally stopped I wiped my brow and thought, “whew, I sure am glad that’s over.”

Of course it was only the beginning. The worm infected my hard drive, and began trying to get its hand (or pharynx) in my computer’s cookie jar. I had to change nearly all of my passwords, call my banks and put notices on my accounts and disconnect from the Ziff Law network to make sure I did not start a Koobface epidemic. Lots of fun on a busy Thursday afternoon!

I am pleased to say my story has a happy ending — I think. Our amazing computer guru, Roy Brotherhood of PC Solutions in Elmira, New York, came to the rescue and appears to have saved the day. Although I cannot vow to quit my addiction to Facebook cold turkey, I have promised myself to scale back and, at a minimum, wise up when it comes to computer scans.

May you all have a happy and Koobface-free holiday season.

Thanks, Christina
Christina M. Sonsire, Esq.
Personal Injury & Malpractice Attorney
Ziff, Weiermiller, Hayden & Mustico, LLP
303 William Street, Elmira, New York 14902
Tel: 607.733.8866
Fax: 607.732.6062
Toll Free: 1.800.943.3529