Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

Summary: Think you have a Facebook virus or your account has been hacked? Here are four things you should try: reclaim your account, change your password, remove suspicious apps, and perform a virus scan.

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You've just discovered your Facebook account has been posting all kinds of weird, pornographic, or generally inappropriate content to your Wall and/or News Feed. Your friends are annoyed with all the questionable posts and requests coming from you.

Did you forget to log out of Facebook at your friend's house, did you accidentally click on something you shouldn't have, or has your account been hacked?

I can't answer these questions without actually seeing what's happening on your profile, but I can offer some advice. Here are four things you should try in order to clean up your Facebook account.

Reclaim your account

If you can no longer login to Facebook, you'll want to follow these instructions from the Facebook Help Center:

My account is hacked. If your account is sending out spam (ex: advertisements or suspicious links) or was taken over by someone else, secure it here.

After you've navigated to facebook.com/hacked, click the blue "Continue" button and follow the instructions.

Change your Facebook password

It's possible your Facebook woes are coming from the result of a phishing scam. Someone may have created a fake website that looks like Facebook or another online service you visit and tricked you into logging in. Their goal was to steal your password and other account credentials, and they may have succeeded.

In this case, you should change your password on Facebook. If you don't know how to do so, you can refer to the following guide: How to change your Facebook password.

If changing your password fixes your Facebook problems, you should change your password for all your other services too, especially if you use the same password for them as you previously used on Facebook. If this doesn't fix the problem, try the next step.

Remove unwanted Facebook apps

It's possible your Facebook woes are coming from a rogue app that you accidentally installed or were tricked into installing. Every Facebook app has certain permissions to your account. Some of these permissions you can modify, while others you cannot.

Your best bet is to remove all the Facebook apps you find suspicious. If you don't know how to do so, you can refer to the following guide: How to clean up your Facebook apps.

If cleaning out your apps fixes your Facebook problems, tell your friends they should do the same (chances are the app asked your friends to install it as well). If this doesn't fix the problem, try the next step.

Get some security software and run a virus scan

It's possible your Facebook woes are coming from some sort of malware, be it a keylogger, a trojan, or some other type of virus. Even if you think your computer is clean, it can't hurt to check.

I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials –it's free and gets the job done very well. Another good one is Malwarebytes. Other free alternatives include Avira and Avast.

The aforementioned security programs are for Windows. If you have a Mac, try using the antivirus from Sophos.

After running the virus scan, clean out whatever the program detects. If you're not sure about what it found, ask a friend who might.

See also:

Topics: Social Enterprise, Security

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

17 comments
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  • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

    Here is a quick fix, abandon your Facebook account. Who needs it anyways?
    paulfx1
    • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

      @paulfx1

      Great idea! Or better still, don't create one in the first place.
      ScorpioBlue
    • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

      @paulfx1
      Sounds great, and while you're at it, toss your iPhone or Blackberry, and close your email accounts. That way you will not be distracted by of those outside influences.
      JAG39
      • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

        @JAG39

        No, just FB is becoming "oldskool" like MySpace became "oldskool" and went away, and Geocities became "oldskool" and went away. FB security overall has been lacking since day one (no ACL's for users for one thing), and the only way to properly fix it is to obliterate the codebase and start fresh, which would lose all the users. FB is between a rock and a hardplace just like MySpace was.

        The newest choice is probably G+ from all appearances.
        admiraljkb
      • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

        [i]The newest choice is probably G+ from all appearances.[/i]

        And then they'll screw up too. Like all the rest of 'em.
        ScorpioBlue
    • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

      @paulfx1 Bravo! If you open a Facebook account, you are just asking for it. Go out into the world, people, and make actual HUMAN friends, and play actual HUMAN games.
      mmagliaro
  • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

    We have more pressing issues at this time... look elsewhere
    Anon172.0.0.1
  • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

    My account was hacked some 3 months back and I got some of the meanist personal attack emails as a result and Facebook let me know that my account had been attacked. I changed my password and haven't had a problem since, but I will never get one espescially hateful email out of my mind.
    kritchie52
    • It's not the services that are the problem.

      It's that the people using them are particularly gullible and naive. I mean, if your grandma or your mom or dad sees a pop up advert or a message in their inbox that says "Win a Free 47 inch Plasma Television" do you think they're going to ignore that, or click it? If your teenage son or daughter sees a link on Facebook that says "Win a Free Playstation 3," do you think they're going to click that or ignore it? If your gay uncle sees a link that says "Free Justin Timberlake N00dz" do you think he's gunna ignore that, or click on it? These folks who get these "facebook viruses" are newbz, these aren't battle-hardened, cynical, untrusting, longtime denizens of teh interbuttz. Chances are they don't even know what "malware" is and see no need to have an anti-virus program like Avast and don't even think about sending a link through OnlineLinkScan before going.

      Myspace, Facebook and all those, they're not horrible things to have. You just have to be cautious and not bog it down with a bunch of trash and realize when a person is real and when they're just some bot. And srsly who the f-ck cares about all those ridiculous app games and "see what your friends think of you" surveys anyway? Why play Farmville, or Neo PocketPets, or 1940's Gangster Wars when there are perfectly good NES, SNES, Genesis, GBA, N64 and even Gamecube and Wii Emulators to play?
      MMOs_Suck
      • onlineLinkScan failed

        My Daughter just went through a hyjacking of her FB account. She clicked on a link a friend sent her through FB messages (Or so it appeared).

        The link used was (careful real link) galliostko.com/5218704/confirmation-accounts_facebook/

        I inserted it into the onlineLinkScan as suggested and it came out clean...

        It took me 5 minutes and some faces recognition test (my daughter had to select the friends in the pictures) and got the password reset and the details (mail back to female etc) back to what they were.

        One note - when she clicked it it also attempted to send itself to me hance the link source)
        on another note - it changed the account name to "Acõúnt Sècúrtý"

        Have a fealing we will hear alot more of this hacker

        chears
        naturopath
  • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

    I'm no techie. I'm barely computer literate. Yes, I know how to research things & do the basics. Above that, not much... I have to say I'm completely impressed with myself because the advice given here is EXACTLY what I've been telling friends who have been hacked on FB - & they've had no issues since. After all, I was just telling them what I'D do in a situation like this. Yay, me!

    For those who immediately jump ship the moment their account is hacked: this says a lot about who you are as an individual. If something goes wrong in your life, you don't stick around to fix the problem or make it right - you run for the hills & never look back. While the decision is up to you as to what you do, & you have every right to do this, it truly has me intrigued as to the level of misery & hopelessness felt by your significant other in the "real world."

    This is not the end of the world, & the issues CAN be resolved - quite easily, might I add. Why not take the 20-30 minutes to fix the problem? After all, when requesting to permanently deactivate the account, it can take up to 24 hours for this process to be complete. Just because you're not actively on your account doesn't mean a hacker isn't having a field day with it in your absence & offending everyone on your friends list during this time. It may be out of sight, out of mind for you, but it won't be for others regarding you. NOW which one seems like a "quick fix"? Half an hour of actually DOING something about it, or the 24-hour waiting period?
    winsteadaj
  • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

    Or...stop installing stupid apps you retards.
    Drobilliard
  • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

    Here are some additional tips for Facebook users:
    http://blog.zonealarm.com/2011/11/how-to-protect-your-facebook-profile.html
    ZoneAlarm SocialGuard
  • RE: Facebook virus or account hacked? Here's how to fix it.

    More than 600,000 accounts are being hacked on facebook everyday. People should understand these hoaxes and try not to fall in their traps. While lookinf for the solutions for facebook scam i came across this article. Its worth reading.
    http://enzag.com/business/careers/using-facebook-linkedin-and-twitter-for-getting-a-job/
    Sidd Bisen
  • Lack off any value responses... ZDNet should remove them.

    Arguing that people should not have Facebook accounts does not offer any valuable information to dealing with the issue. Personal opinions about Facebook and other social networks offers nothing to this conversation and should be removed from the area.

    Someone coming here for a positive solution will see ZDNet as another useless blogger site... thank you for making a helpful tech site worth nothing.
    vpotter2010
  • Facebook hacked account

    Someone hacked my account. I do not have access and to my email adress. I try to reset my password by sending codes to three trusted friends but it does not work. This is what appears: We failed to send an email to the address you selected. Please try again later. If this error continues to happen, try restarting this process with a different email address.
    Tervel92
  • I too faced the similar issue

    Very Informative. I too faced this issue with my Facebook Account. You can even read the below articles that will help you to stay away from virus. http://www.removepcthreats.com/category/articles
    kay114