For almost two weeks the world has been baffled by the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The flight was on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur when contact was lost almost an hour into the journey. No one has heard from it since then, no wreckage has been found as over 25 countries scour the seas, assuming that MH370 probably crashed. The story is quite obviously getting a lot of attention. Given that most people get their news through social media these days, its not surprising to see that people have already started leveraging this tragedy for their ill motives.
Over the past week several videos have appeared on Facebook with sensational titles such as “Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370 found in Sea — 50 people alive saved,” one video’s title even claims that the plane has been found in the Bermuda Triangle. I happen to have come across a similar video myself, and the best thing to do in that case is to avoid clicking through. These links are designed to spread malware.
The links are being circulated on Facebook and Twitter, two of the biggest social media networks. When clicked, they ask that the user fill out a survey, often disguised as a Facebook survey so that unsuspecting users give it access to their profile. This opens the door for scam artists, who can then easily access the victim’s personal information, including but not limited to phone numbers and email addresses.
Facebook is actively working to keep these scammers from spreading malware. A spokesperson for the company told CBS News that identified links have already been removed.