Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 video scams still being found on Facebook

Malaysia Airlines planeThe world remains perplexed by the mystery of what exactly happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which went missing over a week ago.

The latest development is that the President of Malaysia has claimed that flight MH370’s tracking systems were deliberately disabled, and satellites have produced evidence suggesting the plane then changed course and continued flying for a further seven hours.

Although the missing airplane’s fate might still be a baffling mystery, there’s one thing that is clear. Scammers are taking advantage of the world’s interest in the developing story, and trying to make a quick buck.

A series of scams have already been seen being spread via Facebook, for instance, claiming to be links to video news reports of the plan being found, passengers discovered alive, etc.

Some of the claims are clearly preposterous – such as the ones which brazenly asks you to believe that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been found in the Bermuda triangle.

In an attempt to trick the unwary, some of the scams claim to point to respected news organisations such as the BBC or CNN.

Malaysia Airlines video scam

Breaking news about flight MH370 scam

MH370 scam, pretending to come from the BBC

Malaysia Plane (MH-370) Has Been Found Near Bermuda Triangle. BBC News: Recent Video Released!

These scams were first spotted a few days ago, and the above examples appear to have largely disappeared now. Presumably, Facebook’s security team has woken up to the threat and is stamping them out when they’re spotted.

However, that doesn’t mean that the airplane scams have entirely disappeared. A quick search, for instance, has revealed that scams related to the mystery of MH370 are still spreading on Facebook… albeit in French.

French MH370 Facebook scam

[DERNIÈRES NOUVELLES] Malaisie accident d’avion au Vietnam Mer MH370 Malaysia Airlines est trouvé!

Malaisie accident d’avion au Vietnam Mer MH370 Malaysia Airlines est trouvé!

Here is another example:

Another French Facebook scam

Vidéo de l’avion Malaisien MH370 Trouvé dans le triangle des bermudes ! Les passagers sont vivants !

Dernière vidéo de passagers pleurer Paru

Chances are that these scams would spread just as well in other languages too, of course.

So, what happens if you are tricked into clicking on one of the links after you see one of your online friends sharing the “breaking news” online?

When I checked out the links they took me to a fake YouTube page which displayed an age verification dialog that requested I complete an online survey or visit a different website before I could watch the (alleged) video.

Fake YouTube webpage

Of course, the real YouTube doesn’t send you off to other people’s websites in order to prove you are allowed to watch a video.

The scammers earn affiliate cash by driving web traffic to the online surveys or promoting other people’s sites in this way. And, if one of your Facebook friends has been duped into making bad decisions, chances are that they haven’t be too careful about what they’ve allowed to be posted to their Facebook newsfeed either.

Remember – if there is breaking news about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 the best place to find it will probably be on real news websites, rather than trusting a link shared with you by a friend.

And don’t forget, cold-hearted scammers have no qualms about taking advantage of horrific news stories.

If you are on Facebook, and want to be kept updated with news about security and privacy risks, and tips on how to protect yourself online, join the Graham Cluley Security News Facebook page.

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4 Responses

  1. Ed Val (AXJ) 1 March 17, 2014 at 3:37 am #

    Good job Graham. AXJ

  2. Daz 1 March 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

    The lowest of the low these people, huh?

  3. Ellie Kesselman 2 March 21, 2014 at 2:57 pm #

    This is an important public service post. Scams are always bad, but exploiting tragic events, like the lost airplane, is the worst. I am active in Web Of Trust, a browser safety add-on. WOT wrote a post about the MHA scam too, although yours is more detailed. I'm going to share the URL with them, either in the mywot forum or as a comment, see
    hxxps://www.mywot.com/en/blog/470-the-malaysian-airlines-flight-mh370-scam

    Graham, do you allow links or any HTML tags in comments?

  4. Ananda - Sri Lanka 1 March 27, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    If a person uses this kind of tragic event to find a Buck, They must be the sickest people on earth after the terrorists!! Hope and wish that clear evidence of the MH 370 will be fund soon.

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