While the missing Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane has stirred a lot of curiosity around the world, some malicious minds are busy exploiting the tragedy with fake news links and spam videos.
Over the past couple of days, we have comes across several posts on Facebook that claim to show a video of the missing plane. One such video link, which showed up on our wall yesterday, said the missing Malaysia Airlines plane was found in the Vietnam Sea. The post came with what it called a “Shocking video…”. It would seem that’s not the only such videos circulating around; one other fake video reads, “Malaysia jet found near Bermuda Triangle.”
If you fell for these scams, we don’t blame you since the interest in finding the plane is quite high and any moment there could be genuine sighting. So there are quite a few websites and tools already trying to pool together resources from across the world to help in the search operation. So naturally, there will be malware-ridden websites too. According to security software firm Trend Micro, cybercriminals are exploiting the disappearance of the plane by luring users to websites pretending to offer the latest news in order to steal personal information. In fact, Trend Micro’s TrendLabs spotted an executable file (.exe) disguised as a video that, when clicked, allowed scammers to collect a data from the user’s machine, such as his or her IP address, along with other possibly sensitive data.
The video links take users to a fake page with a “ready to play” video. Further clicks will prompt the user to share the link before the video can be viewed, said the report. Needless to say, sharing the video helps cybercriminals spread their malicious link to other users. After sharing, the user will be asked to verify his age by completing a ‘test’. The test is reportedly nothing but yet another scam, this time of the survey variety. So clearly, the MH 370 mystery is turning out to be a goldmine for cybercriminals.
“Cybercriminals have previously used tragedies such as last year’s Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the deadly bomb attack on the Boston Marathon to lure unsuspecting users to malicious websites. Users should click with caution in such situations as cyber criminals try to cash in on such activities. Securing your PCs, tablets and mobile phones with an up-to-date security software is also recommended”, said Dhanya Thakkar, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Trend Micro.