Does Tumblr Have Viruses?

by Kevin Lee

    Kaspersky Labs reports that there were over 1.5 billion browser-based malware attacks in 2012. That’s an alarming number that continues to increase. Tumblr, like any other website, can contain links that take you to sites that can infect your computer with malicious software. If you’re simply posting content on Tumblr, you won’t get a virus or other malware infection. However, it’s wise to use caution when interacting with content you find on Tumblr or any other website.

    At its core, Tumblr is a basic website that enables people to upload files and add links to posts. People who visit Tumblr can view those files or click links that take them to different Web pages. Some links may send you to another Tumblr page while others could take you to an external website. As you review a typical Tumblr page, you’ll often see images or videos appear as you scroll down the page. You won’t get a virus from viewing these images or playing videos you see on the page. You also cannot insert a virus into a post that you make on Tumblr. You can, however, post a link that sends someone to a dangerous website.

    Once you leave the safety of Tumblr, you’re on your own in a dangerous world filled with cybercriminals seeking to infect your computer. The Federal Communications Commission offers excellent advice when it warns people to “Download free software, including games and toolbars, only from sites you know and believe are genuine.” This means “be careful” when a Tumblr post provides a link that leads to a page with something you’d like to download.

    In 2012, hackers successfully created a special type of spam post that appeared on the dashboards of Tumblr users. While this post was not malicious, it did show how it was possible for someone to spam a blogging site such as Tumblr. Tumblr staff members responded to the incident, removed the offending post and restoring everything to normal in December 2012. Tumblr also stated, “we are going to great lengths to make sure this type of abuse does not happen again.”

    Even though the 2012 spam post was simply a nuisance, Tumblr works to prevent small incidents like that from occurring. Tumblr’s Community Guidelines page has a comprehensive list of guidelines that all people must follow if they wish to post on Tumblr. One of the most important warns users to not use JavaScript to inject unwanted ads in blogs. JavaScript is a scripting language that adds additional functionality to a Web page. The guidelines also warn users to not “attempt unauthorized use, disruption, or exploitation of Tumblr.com.” Tumblr can suspend users who violate these guidelines.

    If you believe you acquired a virus after clicking a Tumblr link and visiting a site, scan your computer immediately using your aniti-virus program. For added assurance, download and run Microsoft’s free Malicious Software Removal Tool. (link in Resources). It may remove viruses your anti-virus program misses. Windows 8 comes with Windows Defender, a free anti-virus program. As long as you don’t turn it off or install your own anti-virus software, Windows Defender protects your computer. Keep an anti-virus program running at all times to reduce your chances of getting a virus as you explore cyberspace.

    About the Author

    After majoring in physics, Kevin Lee began writing professionally in 1989 when, as a software developer, he also created technical articles for the Johnson Space Center. Today this urban Texas cowboy continues to crank out high-quality software as well as non-technical articles covering a multitude of diverse topics ranging from gaming to current affairs.