How to Kill a Facebook Bot

facebookA website application knows it has achieved maximum popularity and dazzling success when it begins experiencing withering attacks from viruses. If that’s true, then 7-year-old has arrived.

According to computer threat experts at Kapersky Labs, there are nearly 340,000 different strains or “signatures” of computer viruses roving wild on the Internet today.

Facebook is now so popular that it too is a breeding ground for all sorts of bugs. Facebook users are reporting widespread attacks including email “bot” operations, alert attacks, phishing gambits, and theft of Facebook account login information and credit card numbers. Many Facebook members may not notice anything amiss and, worse, they may believe they are already using a superior anti- product.

Facebook is responding to this growing threat as best it can. In January of 2010, Facebook announced it was initiating a radical protocol: members may have to show “proof of inoculation” before Facebook will allow them to log in. Facebook Project Manager Jake Brill reports the network may soon block members whose computers have not “scanned clean” recently.

If you suspect you have already been victimized by a Facebook virus, log onto your Facebook account and radically change your password immediately, Brill advises. Then, clean up.

Fortunately, removing a virus that has already taken root on your computer will require only a few tools and an hour or two scanning time. But avoiding repeated infections in the future will require new Facebook, and web-surfing, habits.

Instructions

Step 1
Clean up the professional way.

Most PC repair techs would agree that as much as 70 percent of their time is now focused on cleaning viruses, according to experts at Tom’s Hardware, Major Geeks, Bleeping Computers, Tech Republic, and PC Tech Forum.

In order to meet this demand technicians have tested dozens of tools and products and devised unique treatment schemes that seem to perform best for their clients. One very effective method for cleaning up a wide variety of viruses is the “M-S-A Three-Punch,” which is easy enough for most users to apply and is available for download, in full working versions, for free.

Three award-winning free programs make up the “punch”: Malwarebytes, SuperAntiSpyware, and Avast. Each are available from safe download sites like CNET.com and FileHippo.com. Even in their free versions (professional paid versions are available too) “M-S-A” is amazingly effective. Even better, all three are less “resource hogs” than major anti-virus software brands. Many PC repair professionals swear by them, according to technical sites like Tom’s Hardware, Tech Republic, Bleeping Computer, MajorGeeks, and PC Tech Forum.

Step 2
Install the M-S-A three punch.

Turn off System Restore temporarily and stop any other programs that start up with Windows. You may also want to disable or uninstall any other anti-virus programs you normally use, including “big brand” programs.

Download another handy free tool, C-Cleaner, and remove all kinds of junk from Temp files and other crevices on your computer.

Copy the three M-S-A download programs to your computer or to a flash drive, being sure to update the database files for both Malwarebytes and SuperAntiSpyware before running any scans.

Install and then run a “full scan” of Malwarebytes, followed by a second pass with C-Cleaner.

Deploy and run SuperAntiSpyware, a “full scan,” and follow up with another pass with C-Cleaner.

Install Avast and schedule a “boot scan.” Let Avast reboot your computer and scan it for any other viral threats.

Step 3
Do the Combo Fix Knockout.

There are some instances, however, where even the M-S-A Three Punch won’t kill the worst of the bugs. When this occurs there is, as Sherlock Holmes said, a “final court” to appeal to, ComboFix. ComboFix is a free program that is so tough on bugs that it comes with a warning label: “Use ComboFix at your own risk.”

Download ComboFix from one source only: bleepingcomputers.com. Other offers from other websites may be camouflaged virus carriers. Install ComboFix on your machine and carefully follow the instructions provided.

Evaluate your progress. At the end of the ComboFix process, you can be very certain that your computer is finally clean. But if evidence indicates bugs are still present, even after the M-S-A Punch and ComboFix, a full reinstall of Windows is the only cure.

Step 4
Change your habits.

The saying “If it’s free, and fun, it’s infected,” has never been more true. Virus makers use Psychology 101: We all want something fun, or cool, or desirable, for free. This desire is so strong that we will click on anything, it seems, to get something for nothing. Those who create viruses have now laid traps throughout the Internet, waiting for us to step into the snares. The majority of “Free” offers for “fun” things like music, videos, pornography, gambling, greeting cards, email stationary, wallpapers, screensavers, and even Facebook add-on applications–most of them are now infected.

While some anti-virus programs, like the M-S-A Three Punch, will prevent most infections, the most effective anti-virus program can be found at the tip of your mouse-click finger. Don’t click that mouse on just any free downloads that are too good to be true. Those days on the Web are over.

The only free, and safe, offers on the Internet today are those endorsed by major firms, and certified by reviewers like CNET. If you still aren’t sure a download is safe, conduct a web search–“Is The Free Rainbow Guppy Screensaver Infected?”–and in just a few seconds, you’ll know the truth: these Guppies have fangs. Never download any Facebook “apps” except from the Facebook website, or CNET-endorsed sites.

Finally, if you receive an email that appears to come from Facebook, proceed with caution. If the email mentions something about your password or login information being compromised, or if there is a link to download a new Facebook “security application,” stop! The email is most likely a phishing attack, and the link contains an infection. Go to the Facebook web site directly and read current security warnings posted there to gain safe guidance and help.

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