According to Roger Thompson, chief research officer with antivirus company AVG Labs, a rising number of bogus profiles were being used to try and tempt the social network’s users into downloading viruses.
In a post on the AVG Labs blog, he explained how the fake accounts had appeared, with a request to download a video. If unsuspecting users clicked on the link, it downloaded a piece of malicious software to their computer.
“Clearly, the data snatchers have found a way to automate the creation of Facebook accounts,” Thompson wrote. “I’m sure Facebook will deactivate all these accounts as quickly as they find them, but it can’t be an easy thing for them to find.”
In the case I know about personally (link above), the accounts were not fake; they were real accounts that had been somehow hijacked. The messages my friend received were fake, but she knew the senders in person and knew the accounts did indeed exist.
I find a simple moral. Treat stuff that arrives in pixels with the same caution that you treat stuff that arrives in print. That’s what my friend did: the message looked fishy, so she didn’t open it.
It has confounded me since the early days of the inner tubes that persons will believe stuff they read on the computer screen when they wouldn’t believe the same stuff if they read it the Encyclopedia Britannica.
Full Disclosure: I use and recommend AVG products because they do what they promise at a reasonable price. That’s the only connection I have with the outfit.