Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight Spawns Scams


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — A world anxious for details on missing Malaysian Flight 370 is subject to not only the infuriating contradictions of official reports but also malicious attempts to mislead. A recently launched Facebook page promises video of the "found" airliner, but instead redirects the viewer to a page injecting malicious Trojan-horse malware into the computer or mobile device. Twitter is also littered with identity thieves luring potential victims with "breaking news" on the lost flight.

Preposterous claims, obviously untrue but still garnering clicks, scream: "Breaking News! Video of Malaysia MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle! Passengers alive! Breaking news video footage of this miracle just released on CNN!"

Many of the scams send you to fake YouTube sites with an "age verification" request and a subsequent redirect to an online survey. Other videos will not play unless shared first on Facebook, bolstering the spread of the scam. The video fails to load even after the link is shared.

"The scammers earn affiliate cash by driving web traffic to the online surveys or promoting other people's sites in this way," says Graham Cluley, an independent computer security analyst, on his blog. "And, if one of your Facebook friends has been duped into making bad decisions, chances are that they haven't been too careful about what they've allowed to be posted to their Facebook newsfeed either."

Fake ads and videos have also been circulating through social media, purportedly offering an eerie foretelling of the missing airliner's fate. The ads have been altered with language that seems to predict the tragedy. The bogus projects apparently have no imbedded security threats and no motive for the creation of these images has been determined.

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

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