With more than 2.23 billion users, Facebook is the No. 1 social network site in the world by leaps and bounds. That sort of popularity is fantastic for business, but is also exposes the social media giant to all sorts of troublemakers. Some are harmless, but others are out to exploit as many profiles as possible for the purpose of illegally-made profit.

Facebook is a playground for cybercriminals and hackers seeking to exploit vulnerabilities. The average Facebook user has 338 friends connected to their profiles, which means the perfectly executed virus could be replicated 338 times without the hacker having to lift a finger. Even more dangerous it that Facebook has a huge number of apps connect to it every day. That makes it a prime target for fake apps to get attached to user profiles.

How to Avoid Facebook Malware

The best way to avoid Facebook malware is to have a heavily skeptical eye for anything that comes your way when using the social media giant. Claims for get-rich schemes, invitations to join groups that seem scandalous or illegal, friend requests from people you don’t know your people using a false name, and attempts to sign into your account that you didn’t authorize all fall under this category. These attempts are no more real than when you get the email from the son of the deposed king of Nigeria asking you to help him move $3 million to his Swiss bank account. If you’re confused about some of the messages you’re getting, you can also consult Facebook’s own guide to malware, which gives you an indication of what sort of offers you will typical see on the social media juggernaut. This should help you pick between fake and real. Your best bet to avoiding Facebook malware is to have a strong antivirus software running on your computer at all times. While no antivirus software is perfect, those rated the highest will be able to identify when nefarious apps are trying to install something on your computer without your permission. If you’re looking to upgrade your antivirus software or in the market for the first time, see the positives and negatives of some of the leading brands.

How to Remove Facebook Malware

If malware has followed you home from Facebook, you need to act quickly to remove it from your computer before it does more damage. A good first step might be to post on Facebook that your account may have been compromised and warn others about how the malware got onto your account, if you know the root cause.

From there, backup all your data so that if things get hairy, your vital information will be safe. Your next step is to disconnect your computer from the Internet. If you’re using an Ethernet cord, unplug it. If you’re on a wireless network, turn the computer’s WiFi off. This slow or stop a lot of malware activity on your computers, since most of it is reliant on Internet communication to activate.

Now boot your computer in safe mode and install an antivirus kit to seek out and destroy the malware that has compromised your computer. This will allow the software to search your system without the malware being able to respond and eliminate it altogether.

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