Turning your Facebook profile picture pink to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month will not harm your account or your computer, despite persistent rumors spreading around the social networking behemoth today (Oct. 25).
Several Facebook campaigns have been launched this month to raise awareness for breast cancer; users can donate money to a charity, post a pink ribbon on their page, or, in this case, download an application that turns their whole profile picture pink. Facebook scammers are usually the first ones to pounce on a popular event or trending topic like this, but researcher Graham Cluley from the anti-virus company Sophos says this is an instance where a widely spread Facebook campaign has no agenda other than to unite people and show support for a cause.
Cluley found a warning attached to one of the apps that says, with several grammatical errors, "ABC News 24 just released a statement about a virus on Facebook app that adds a pink tinge to your profile picture to 'raise money for cancer.' Be aware this fake third-party app installs a virus on the machine you used to access the app. Apparently its [sic] a keylogger malware that searches for bank details and passwords etc. Facebook allows keylogger in its apps to aid predictive search algorithms, and therefore the virus hasnt [sic] been picked up."
The warning is "balderdash," Cluley wrote on a Sophos blog. "ABC News has released no such warning, the app is not malicious and we have seen no evidence that it contains a keylogger. The truth is that your Facebook friends are doing something positive — helping raise money and awareness for the fight against breast cancer."
Just as it's important to check reputable sources — not your Facebook friends — for news, by the same token, Facebook posts are not the place to find computer security advice.