Fake friends can be dangerous

Back in my youth, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts had a song that warned you about the dangers of fake friends. This is especially true in the digital age. Fake friends won’t only stab you in the back, they’ll dump malware on your device and steal all of your information.

The security experts at AVAST recently discovered a tricky scam that uses fake Facebook profiles to trick users into downloading malware.

Here’s how it works. You get a message from someone who wants to chat with you. But, they suggest that instead of Messenger, you download another messenger app called Kik Messenger and they provide a link.

Kik is a real app, but this link directs you to a fake page that downloads a spyware payload instead of a messenger app. Avast has named this the Tempting Cedar Spyware.

According to AVAST, this spyware can steal just about everything from your phone, including contacts, your location, texts, and photos. It can even use your phone to record your conversations. That’s some scary stuff.  You can get more details about how this malware works on AVAST’s site.

For this scam, the crooks stole photos of attractive women and then set up fake profiles.


Another popular fake friend is a distinguished gentleman. Usually, he’s a handsome silver fox. Or at least the person whose photo they stole for the account is. Another popular trick is to impersonate a celebrity.  Always be cautious about friend requests or messages from people you don’t know. But if this person wants you to download something, forget about it. I’m not against making friends online. I’ve met some awesome individuals that way. But you have to be careful.

To paraphrase Joan Jett, you don’t lose anything when you lose fake friends.


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