With Facebook in the news — and in hot water — hoaxers are out in full force. 

This warning, plus a fake stress relief app and a way to feel your e-mail in your scam alert.

Watch here:



Facebook hoax

You may get an urgent message from a friend on Facebook.

It’s from Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg.

“All the warnings were real,” it says. “Facebook use will cost money.”

You can still use the platform for free, however, if you send out the message to 18 friends.

Message circulating on Facebook about paying for use of the platform. Image credit: Archer News


“If you do not believe me tomorrow at 6 pm that facebook will be closed and to open it you will have to pay, this is all by law,” the message warns with awkward grammar.

But this a scam, and it’s seen the light of day for almost ten years, according to Snopes.

Facebook even posted a message in 2015 saying, “While there may be water on Mars, don’t believe everything you read on the Internet today. Facebook is free and always will be.”

“Stay safe out there, Earthlings!” it adds.


Facebook posted a 2015 message about Facebook-for-pay hoaxes. Image credit: Facebook


But the hoax message may seem more real to people now, after Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of congress on April 10 indicating that Facebook may have thought about a paid version.

Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah asked about Zuckerberg’s visit to congress in 2010:

“You said back then that Facebook would always be free. Is that still your objective?”

“Senator, yes,” Zuckerberg responded. “There will always be a version of Facebook that is free.”


Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg testifies in front of congress on April 10, 2018. Image credit: USA Today


Adding to the confusion — a video posted on YouTube on April Fool’s Day called “A world without Facebook.”

In it, a man appearing to be Zuckerberg makes a “huge announcement”:

“So, after much consideration, I’ve decided that I, the Zuckman himself, will be deleting Facebook.”

The film by Andrew Oleck depicts people finding new freedom without Facebook.


Still image from “A world without Facebook” by Andrew Oleck. Image credit: Bayview Drive ]Films


But this Zuckerberg is fake.

And so is the latest round of Facebook-for-pay messages.

Still, people are falling for it, apologizing online and becoming the target of mockery.

“It’s official. Facebook users will believe anything their friends copy and paste into their status,” posted one Facebook user. “Luckily, each person who copies and pastes this status will receive a FREE unicorn in the mail tomorrow. However, if you don’t repost this status, Facebook code has been set up to automatically set your computer on fire and harm an innocent bunny in the forest!”

“It’s all true, it was on the news!” he adds.


A Facebook user apologizes for passing on hoax messages to friends. Image credit: Facebook


Fake stress relief

Watch out for a fake stress reliever app called Relieve Stress Paint.

Researchers from security company Radware say it does indeed let you paint.

But your stress will only go up when you find out what it also does.


Malicious “Relieve Stress Paint” app ad. Image credit: Radware


Radware says it steals your Facebook passwords, looking for credit card numbers or other payment methods you’ve used.

Researchers say the bad guys can sell your passwords on the dark web, use your credit card info to rack up charges, and even launch massive fake ad campaigns on your account and on your dime.

The attackers have stolen 40,000 passwords so far, according to Radware.

If you downloaded the Relive Stress Paint app, change your Facebook password and watch out for other fake ads and e-mails.


The Relieve Stress Paint app allows you to paint — and also steals your passwords & payment info. Image credit: Radware


Hot shows?

If you have a smart TV or smart stick, you may want to check the temperature.

Security company Avast says bad guys can sneak onto your device and use it to mine for cryptocurrency.

Researcher Martin Hron shows how secret cryptomining can heat up a smart stick to 130 degrees, which he says can damage your device.


Amazon Fire TV Stick. Image credit: Archer News


He looked at the Amazon Fire TV Stick — which turns a “dumb TV” into a smart TV and lets you run popular show apps like Netflix and Hulu — and found that attackers can get inside and use you to dig for digital “dollars.”

Amazon did not respond to Archer News’ questions about smart TV stick security.


An infrared camera shows the effect of secret cryptomining on a smart TV stick. Image credit: Avast


If you feel your devices running very hot, Hron suggests doing a factory reset to get the miners off your machine.

He recommends you change the usernames and passwords that come on your devices, which are often as easy to guess as “admin/admin.”

Russian hacking

Changing passwords from the default logins are also a good idea if you want to protect yourself from Russian hacking.

The Department of Homeland Security, FBI and Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre made a joint statement, saying Russian cyber attackers are compromising routers.

They recommend you change the default password on your router and make sure your router software is completely updated —or the bad guys may be able to spy, steal and even attack major targets around the U.S.


An example of a router. Image credit: Pixabay


You can look up how to change your router password on the Internet — not your Wi-Fi password, but your ‘admin’ password.

Here are instructions from various companies:


How to change your Verizon router password

How to change your Linksys router password

How to change your Belkin router password

How to change your Netgear router password


Feeling your mail

And finally, this is not a scam, but a peek into the future.

If you’re tired of reading e-mail, try feeling it.

Researchers are coming up with a way to “buzz” words onto your arm.


A subject straps a device onto to her arm to “feel” messages. Image credit: ACM SIGCHI


Facebook is behind this and will present the project at a conference this month, according to the MIT Technology Review.

So far, it’s a bit slow-going.

You have to go through special straining to learn what the buzzes mean.

But in the future, the message “I feel your pain” may take on new meaning.


See other alerts:

Scam Alert #13 — Despacito hacked & digital “Beanie Babies”

Scam Alert #12 — Brainwave hacks & Groupon fakers

Scam Alert #11 — Fake peepers & video game scams

See more Scam Alerts here at Archer News.