OFFICIAL SECURITY BLOG

Fake Flight MH370 Videos Being Shared on Twitter and Facebook

March 14, 2014 | BY

Unfortunately, we have to warn you that scammers are looking to make some money off the back of the disappearance of Flight MH370 via the usual social media channels.

Yesterday, Hoax Slayer covered the first known examplewith additional information provided by our friends at ESET.

We’ve also seen numerous fake video pages in circulation on sites such as Twitter and Facebook with a variety of horribly attention grabbing headlines (there are bound to be others):

“Shocking Video: Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370 found at sea”

“Malaysian Airplane MH370 Already Found. Shocking Video Release Today by CNN”

“Plane has been spotted somewhere near Bermuda triangle. Shocking videos released today. CNN news”

“MH370 Malaysia plane has been found. Shocking videos released today. Last video of passengers crying released”

A lot of these links are naturally being posted to Facebook accounts, but there’s a fair bit of Twitter spam going around too:

twitter spam

The links typically lead to fake news / video sites, and encourage visitors to share the links to social media channels then either fill in surveys or click on adverts. Here’s a site from one of the above links:

Fake video site

From here, sharing the video will lead end-users to a survey page and they’ll have to fill one in, generating affiliate cash for the person behind the scam.

Surveys

It goes without saying that they won’t be shown a crash video at the end of this process, because there is no crash video – just a sick hoax.

Elsewhere, we have this:

Another fake link

The above link will redirect to another URL:

More fake news

Hitting the share button on that one will result in the user being asked to share a “Pray for MH370″ group page. Note the default Facebook share setting of “Only Me”, which likely helps to limit the reach of cookie-cutter fake video sites.

Share this?

There isn’t a lot of content on the group page, but it has shared a link which claims to be a CNN news report:

That isn't CNN...

The link leads to a site looking to imitate a genuine CNN page, which (of course) has to be shared before you can view the video. This particular site goes no further than asking to be shared, so perhaps this one isn’t fully set up yet.

Fake news site

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.

As the mystery of what actually happened to Flight MH370 continues to deepen, you can expect to see more of this over the coming weeks.

Please don’t contribute to the sharing of these fake news links being posted, and if you want to know what is going on stick to reputable news sources that you trust.

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.

We can’t do much about the individuals happy to trade on someone else’s misery but we can certainly contribute towards putting a dent in their moneymaking ambitions.

Christopher Boyd