Earlier this month, online security and anti-virus company McAfee released a report stating that instances of a Facebook-hijacking virus called “Koobface” were on the rise on Facebook, even stating that the malware had tripled in size in 2013. However, McAfee has now retracted the report and published a chart showing that, in fact, Koobface has been in a steep decline since 2011, when Facebook vowed to fight the bug.
According to McAfee, the data was so badly skewed because it took into account the number of unique Koobface files on the site, though there are many other factors that can determine how malware is counted.
“Besides the number of changes made to a malware’s code base, sample counts can also be influenced by repacking of the same underlying code (a common evasion tactic used by malware distributors), garbage data or junk instructions added to binaries, and other forms of server or client polymorphisms (such as self-modifying code or web server scripts that result in a unique binary being served with each download),” McAfee’s Craig Schmugar wrote in the retraction.
Facebook has done an admirable job of limiting Koobface. However, that bug is only the most prevalent of thousands of similar viruses on the site. Fighting malware is an uphill battle, but thanks to McAfee’s retraction, it seems the slope is a lot less steep than originally thought.
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