Facebook users spread online suicide hoax
Users urged not to spread ‘Girl who killed herself’ computer virus warnings
Written by Dinah Greek, Computeractive
06 Aug 2010
A hoax alert about a virus is rapidly spreading across Facebook according to security company Sophos. Sophos said a large number of people, hoping to help other users of the social-networking site, are forwarding the warning that an alert about a girl who killed herself over something her father wrote on her wall is infected with malware.Sophos said although there is no malware involved, it is alarming people. The situation is complicated further by cybercriminals creating Facebook pages that pretend to host pictures of the non-existent ‘girl’. These pages are more dangerous and designed to generate money by sending unsuspecting users to online surveys.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos said: “Facebook users should always check their facts with a reputable source before sharing a virus warning with their online friends. “Scares like this can cause users to panic unnecessarily, and may mean that the public takes genuine virus outbreaks less seriously.”
Cluley has provided more information about the hoax on his blog. The hoax started with rumours on the internet in 2008 that a girl had killed herself. Cluley includes images of the message and pages linked to the hoax. The blog also gives some interesting background to the rumours of a girl’s online suicide.
Sophos has also set up a Facebook group, which warns of emerging threats on Facebook.The text of the current hoax reads as follows:
“WARNING: THERE IS A VIRUS GOING AROUND AGAIN, IF YOU SEE A GIRL WHO KILLED HERSELF OVER SOMETHING HER FATHER WROTE ON HER WALL DO NOT OPEN IT, IT IS A VIRUS AND IT WILL NOT ALLOW YOU TO DELETE IT, PLEASE PASS THIS ON BEFORE SOMEONE OPENS IT. (IT IS A SELF REPLICATING TROJAN)”