How to Avoid Malware and Viruses (Official Dell Tech Support)
How to Avoid Viruses and Malware on Facebook
This wikiHow teaches you how to address and avoid damage from Facebook hacks and viruses. While you can't get a traditional computer virus from Facebook, some hacks can steal your login information in order to compromise your Facebook account.
Addressing a Compromised Account
Change your Facebook password.The first step in addressing a compromised Facebook account is changing your current password to a unique, strong one.
- If you can no longer log into your Facebook account using the correct credentials, report that the account was hacked.
Change passwords for connected services.The majority of online users repeat passwords for different services, meaning that any virus which obtains your Facebook password could feasibly have access to those services. If your Facebook information is compromised, changing the passwords for any connected services (Instagram, Spotify, email services, and so on) is a must.
- For example, if the password for the email address you use to log into Facebook is the same as your Facebook password, you'll want to change the email address' password immediately.
Remove unsecure or suspicious apps.When you use your Facebook account to log into an app (e.g., Tinder), the app gains access to your Facebook information. Unfortunately, after a Facebook hack, you may inadvertently give access to an unwanted app. You can remove apps from your Facebook account by doing the following:
- Go to and log in.
- Click the "Menu" icon in the upper-right corner.
- ClickApps and Websiteson the left side of the page.
- Check the box to the right of any suspicious apps in the "Active Apps and Websites" section of the page.
- Click the blueRemovebutton.
- Check the "Also delete all posts..." box and clickRemovewhen prompted.
Log out of other locations.Facebook provides you with a list of locations in which you're logged into Facebook. If you see a location that you don't recognize, you can immediately log out of it by selecting the location and then selectingLog Out.
Alert your friends that your account was compromised.A side effect of most Facebook hacks is that your friends may receive a message with a malicious link from your account. In order to prevent the hack from propagating on Facebook, post a status alerting your friends that your account was hacked.
- You might want to explain briefly the circumstances under which your account was compromised (for example, if you were hacked when you opened a message from someone, mention that in your post) to help your friends know what to look for.
Avoiding Future Problems
Know how to identify Facebook malware.Malware on Facebook can take many different forms, but it most often manifests as a link being promoted or sent via Messenger. The main iterations of malware include the following:
- A friend ambiguously promoting a product or a service
- A message from a friend with a link or a video and a phrase such as "Is this you?" or similar
- Any promotion, post, or message from a friend which seems dissonant with their tone or usual social media practices
Enable two-factor authentication.Two-factor authentication is a service which requires two methods of verification—a password and a unique code that is sent to your phone—to log into Facebook. This means that anyone attempting to break into your Facebook account will need both your Facebook password and your phone in their hand to succeed. To enable two-factor authentication, do the following:
- Go to and log in.
- Click the "Menu" icon in the upper-right corner.
- ClickSecurity and Login
- Scroll down to the "Two-Factor Authentication" section.
- ClickEditto the right of "Use two-factor authentication", then clickGet Started.
- Enter your password when prompted.
- Check the "Text Message" box, then clickNext(you may have to enter your phone number before proceeding).
- Enter the six-digit code that Facebook texts to your phone number, then clickNext.
- ClickFinishwhen prompted.
Look at links before opening them.If you can identify a link's website and specific page by looking at the URL, it's most likely not a malicious post. This doesn't mean that all readable links are safe; always examine the context of the post before clicking a link.
- For example, if the link has something like "bz.tp2.com" instead of an easily identifiable link such as "www.facebook.com/security", avoid clicking the link.
- If the link is readable but it has been posted in a suspicious manner (e.g., in poor grammar by a friend who normally uses proper grammar), avoid opening it.
Verify messages with friends.If you do receive a non-contextual link or file from a friend, ask them to confirm that they intentionally sent the item before opening it. When a virus sends such a link or file, no record of the item shows up on your friend's side of the conversation.
- Naturally, if your friend verifies that they've sent the message, you're free to open the included link or file.
Log into Facebook using only the website or mobile app.There are numerous sites on which you can log in using your Facebook account information (Spotify, Instagram, and Pinterest are common examples), but doing so increases the damage that a compromised account can inflict. For your account safety, only use your Facebook credentials to log into Facebook via the Facebook website (https://www.facebook.com/) and the official Facebook mobile app.
- Similarly, some Facebook viruses will attempt to get you to enter your login information on an unrelated page that resembles the Facebook login page. Doing this will cause your account to be compromised.
QuestionWhat do I do if my Facebook is corrupted?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerTry to remake your account. If you set it up with a certain email provider, you may contact it to see if someone can help you.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I delete a photo I received from a friend and declare it spam?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can't. You can only block people. You can't declare photos spam because slightly modified photos could be sent over and over again, so this feature would be useless. You can block, unfriend, and report people still.Thanks!
QuestionI'm using the Facebook app on my iPhone, and when I clicked on a link, a box popped up saying my phone is infected. How can I get rid of the message?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis is most likely a pop-up ad that's associated with the link you're clicking. It might have an "X" somewhere, which you can click to close the ad. If it doesn't, then you shouldn't click on the link again.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if I cannot send messages to people?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou should visit the Facebook Help Center or the Help Community for assistance. They will be able to guide you through the steps to resolving this issue.Thanks!
I think I have a virus in Facebook. Everything apart from names is in Korean not English?
What do I do if someone called my phone pretending to be from Facebook and said I had a virus if I didn't call the number they gave me?
Hey Kimberly, there's something about this photo that bothers me. Would you please take it down?
Everything I attempt to sign in to Facebook on my Galaxy Table A android tablet it go black and shut down.
I think my Facebook may be hacked. What. can I do?
- The bulk of Facebook "viruses" are relatively harmless, but you should treat each one like an emergency.
- Ignoring a Facebook virus can result in anything from more people receiving the virus to getting locked out of your account. If you suspect that you've been hacked, change your password immediately.
- Unfortunately, opening a malicious link or file in the Facebook Messenger mobile app is just as detrimental as opening it on your computer.
Sources and Citations
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