The Messenger virus generally refers to viruses and malware entities that are spread via Facebook Messenger. Cybercriminals use hacked Facebook accounts to send a victim’s contacts and list of friends messages that are contaminated with nasty malware strains.
There are many kinds of Messenger viruses and scams and they vary depending on who is running the particular campaign and what their end goal is. Some Facebook Messenger viruses promote out of this world deals and promotions, others entice their victims with provocative video links and others offer to reveal important information about the targeted victim. But no matter their nature, they are all scams and you should not fall for them.
What Can the Messenger Virus Do?
Depending on the strain of the Messenger virus that infects your device, a lot can happen to your computer. As an example, some Messenger virus scams trick their victims into downloading and installing the FormBook Trojan a malicious software that is known for stealing user data. Using FormBook, cybercriminals can take screenshots, record keystrokes and clipboard data, and steal passwords and other login credentials. The stolen data can then be sold in the dark web, posted online or used to hack the bank accounts of the victim. Using the stolen logins and passwords, the criminals are also able to hack in the victim’s Facebook account and use it as a bot to spread the malware further.
It seems that the goal of the criminals behind the Facebook virus is always financial gain. Although they do cause chaos in their wake, they are more motivated with making money than doing anything else. Their money-making schemes involve blackmail, stealing from bank accounts, selling stolen data and engaging in ransomware attacks if they are convinced that the victim will pay up.
How to Remove the Messenger Virus
Like many other malware entities, the Facebook virus strains will succumb to the power of an anti-malware software. What you’ve got to do is to make sure that you use a reliable anti-malware such as Outbyte Antivirus.
When running the anti-malware, whether on macOS or on a Windows device, make sure that you restart your device on Safe Mode. This is because many malware strains rely on auto persistence techniques that involve among other things disabling anti-malware defenses and setting themselves as startup items. When in Safe Mode, most startup items will not activate as only a minimum of the apps and settings that are required for a functional OS are powered.
If you don’t have the anti-malware on your computer, there is the option of removing the malware manually. There are a few methods that can help with this. They include using the Control Panel and Windows Recovery tools.
The Control Panel allows you to remove apps that are installed on your computer. Just type ‘control’ panel on the search box, open the app and under Programs, click Uninstall programs. From the list of the programs that are installed on your device, find the ones that look suspicious and remove them. The kind of malicious programs that you are likely to find here include adwares, cryptojackers, and Trojans.
Windows Recovery tools such as the System Restore option allow you to revert any changes to your computer’s system files and configuration. You can use these tools to correct a minor change in and revert to a restore point or completely erase the files and folders on your device and start afresh.
Protect Yourself from the Messenger Virus
How do you protect yourself from the Facebook Messenger virus? We have a few tips for you:
- Be careful when handling links and attachments that come your way via Messenger, especially if they are from an untrusted source.
- Only use trustworthy sources to download software as a lot of freely available software comes bundled together with malware entities.
- Install a reputable anti-malware software on your computer and use it to scan it as often as you can. While at it, you can also download a PC repair tool or Mac repair app for Mac users. It will help keep your device clean and in good health so that when it comes to fighting off infections, the task will be carried out easily.
- Finally, use a password manager to store and process your login details. Your accounts will be harder to hack when you use strong and protected passwords.