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Monday, November 22, 2010

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By Virtual Agent Mike S.

Summary: A security alert about the Facebook “Christmas Tree” application is circulating online now that states:

“Warning !!!!!!!!!!! Don’t use the Christmas Tree App. Be advised it will crash your computer. Geek Squad says it’s one of the Worst Trojan Viruses there is and it is spreading quickly. Please repost to friends & let them know !!!”

Tell Me More: In actuality, Geek Squad has not officially investigated this particular application, nor have we identified it as the source of any infections in any cases we have supported. However, that doesn’t automatically mean that it’s ok to use.

Should I Be Worried? We haven’t completed our investigation of the “Christmas Tree” application and cannot guarantee that it’s completely safe. As a general rule, if it’s not 100% necessary for you to use an application and you can’t verify that the developer is trustworthy, you may want to do some research before installing it to your profile.

What Do I Need to Do? Here’s what you should know about Facebook applications before you install them:

• Any Facebook application that you install or use on your profile has access to your personal information and friends list, so make sure you’re only interacting with applications and people you trust with your personal info.

• Facebook developers are bound by a contract with Facebook, which requires them to respect the privacy settings you’ve chosen for your account information. Occasionally Facebook identifies developers who break these rules and use personal information for less-than-friendly purposes. The end result of this misuse of personal information is identity theft — yet another reason to be extra careful with the information you’re sharing via applications.

• Facebook applications cannot directly interact with your computer or infect your computer with viruses. However, if a rogue application gains unauthorized access to your personal information, hackers could potentially use that information to infect your computer through other means, or trick you into downloading an infection using a pop-up or “scareware” tactics. Be careful about what you click on inside applications, because the pages and information inside them are not provided by Facebook and could potentially be used by companies or individuals to steal personal information — or infect your computer.

Geek Squad Final Word: As always, if you experience any undesired computer symptoms, seek help from a computer professional as soon as possible. If you notice any signs of your Facebook account being compromised or sending out messages you didn’t intend to send, it could be a signal that your computer may be infected, and you should seek professional assistance.

For more information, visit Facebook’s Safety Center (, check out the Geek Squad home page at, or contact your nearest Geek Squad Agent. Whether it’s online, via 1-800-GEEKSQUAD, or in any Best Buy store, we’re here to help 24/7/365!

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Categories: Security Threat Alert | Technology

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