Here we are. It’s March 2014, and we’ve arrived at the bottom of the bottom of the social media scam barrel. And brother, that’s a deep barrel.
Malwarebytes warned that “Viral” posts appearing on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media websites containing links promising videos of the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are spreading malware to users.
The infection process is rather uninventive, but effective nonetheless. The pre-school-caliber social media phishing scammer’s “real innovative” plan goes like this:
- User clicks on a provocative link like “Shocking Video Release Today by CNN” “Last video of passengers crying released” (That’s how CNN promotes all its newsworthy videos, right?)
- Instead, they are told they must complete an official-looking (in… some peoples’ opinions) Facebook survey.
- The user clicks on a button allowing the survey permission to access their profile (Because really, why wouldn’t you want a survey to have access to all your information?)
- The scammers gain backstage access to information like e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and other things.
They may also be profiting by fooling survey affiliate marketing programs, which already have a shining reputation on the web, into paying the scammers money for users participating in surveys. Kind of sounds like every scam like this that’s ever happened. But the really disgusting part is the part where the Facebook user is lured in by asking to share the “Pray for MH370” page.
Not all the links are shocking, warned Malwarebytes.
Not all of the video links being posted to social networks are sensationalist in nature – along the “shocking video” nonsense there’s quite a few others which instead offer false hope to anybody waiting for the first “survivors found” news to be posted somewhere legitimate.
Facebook claims to have removed the links already. They didn’t mention anything about the viral malware spread in in their March 14 Weekly Highlights, opting instead to discuss the latest social media buzz regarding The Bachelor and to share more Neil DeGrasse Tyson paraphernalia.
We’re not sure how Facebook is going to keep new Malaysian Airliner scam links from showing up effectively in the future. But then, they’re Facebook so they don’t really need to acknowledge anything they don’t want to. However, Malwarebytes stepped up to offer a good piece of advice for anyone wanting to avoid being lured in by future online malware attacks like this:
Anything asking you to share content or like something before watching a “shocking video”, or asking you to complete surveys, is likely going to end up being a scam. There are more than enough genuine news sources out there to be able to confirm or debunk a supposedly breaking story with a few minutes clicking.