Check Your Links Before You Click

June 14, 2013

Written by wukovits

There are quite a few of us that have Facebook profiles.  Many of us are even daily users and I count myself among this group.  Facebook can be a welcome distraction, an effective marketing tool, or a great mechanism for meeting old friends and new people.  It can also be hazardous to your financial well-being.

Zeus Trojan Malware Infection FacebookWe all know about how various types of computer infections can be dangerous for the health of your computer, but there exist some very nasty types of malware that target you where it can hurt most: your finances.  Recently, a well-known malware has been making the rounds on Facebook.  Otherwise known as Zeus, this baddie has been around for years on computers and even smartphones, but now many instances of this Trojan are being found on the social networking site where you might least expect it. When you click a link on a page you “like” in Facebook, or maybe on some link that your good friend just posted, you could be navigating to a page that delivers this malware to your computer, where it begins to perform its duty.

Zeus is designed to infect a computer and lay dormant until the victim logs into a banking website.  This malware then steals the passwords to these sites and proceeds to drain the accounts.  In some instances, Zeus can even replace the bank’s webpage with another doppelgänger page to glean even more information from the user, like Social Security numbers, security answers to questions, and these can be traded on the black market.  Once this type of information is gathered on the victim, additional accounts can be infiltrated, or even created and abused.

The best way to prevent the Zeus Trojan from infecting your computer is to avoid clicking links you don’t trust.  This can be pretty difficult, seeing that the whole Internet experience is about clicking links, but paying special attention to the links you click will help greatly.  Always look at the domain for a link you click, and if it’s doesn’t look quite right, don’t click it.

Many times you will see those short links that many services use, and there’s a place to go where you can check these.  Link lengthening sites will expand these short links to reveal their final destination, and CheckShortURL is one of the best, supporting almost all link shortening services.  You can copy and paste a shortened link into their service and it’ll give you the expanded link to examine before you go there.

Another great resource is Sucuri, where you can use their SiteCheck tool to scan any website for any kind of malware, infections, and more.  For real-time protection, I always recommend Malwarebytes Pro, which does a great job of keeping your computer free of any malware preemptively.  In case you didn’t notice, I used short links on all the links in this article, so it should give you some practice on using these tools.

Should you get taken by Zeus or suspect any kind of infection on your machine; Facebook has their own suggestions for actions to take.  You can also run Malwarebytes Pro in Safe Mode on your PC as a great start to getting rid of malware.  If you need help beyond your own capabilities, feel free to reach out to my own business, Bayou Technologies, for more assistance with any malware removal needs.

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