Get Garcia: Facebook Worm Attacks Email, Locks Users Out

Hackers are taking over Facebook accounts by getting people to click on fake ads.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A Facebook users says his computer was attacked with a worm that works through ads on the social networking site. The Get Garcia investigative team got him results after Facebook deleted his account and with it thousands of contacts. Ana Garcia reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on May 22, 2012. (Published Wednesday, May 23, 2012)

    We are usually being warned not to open emails from people we don’t know. Now there’s new threat on Facebook, and it sometimes comes in the form of an advertisement.

    Chad Sanders is a Los Angeles set dresser who made the mistake of trying to remove himself from an ad that he had been tagged on.

    “I started getting these Facebook ads” said Sanders. “I must have hit the ad accidentally.”

    The virus then attacked his email.

    “They try to infect as many people as they can,” said cyber security expert Johnny Gannon. They “ trick people into clicking a link to spread their virus to more machines.”

    “There was nothing I could do I was totally locked out of everything.” Sanders said he lost more than 1,000 contacts and years of photos.

    Sanders says Facebook took too long: 3 weeks to shut down the hacker, and now Sanders can’t get his original page back.

    “There’s no way to get a hold of Facebook by email or by phone number,” said Sanders.

    That’s a complaint a lot of people have about Facebook, but the social networking giant says not having a customer service number is the industry standard for companies like Facebook, Ebay and Twitter.

    Our Get Garcia, Get Results team did manage to get a call back from Facebook. Facebook says they believe the worm started in someone’s email and then moved through Facebook. Facebook promises to reinstate Chad Sanders original Facebook page and restore his lost pictures.

    In the meantime, if you think you’ve been a victim of spam or hacking on Facebook here’s the website to file a complaint. www.fb.com/hacked

    Facebook says protecting people from spam and malicious content is a top priority. They say sometimes figuring out who is the hacker and who is the victim can be tricky so they admit they take their time because they want to get it right.

    Here’s how to protect yourself. Update your settings in the security menu to enable “login notifications” and require “ login approvals.” That way you are notified immediately if someone tries to login into your Facebook account from another computer.

    It adds another level of security says Gannon.

    If you have a problem you need help with call 818.520.TIPS or email us at GetGarcia@nbcuni.com

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