Fake video of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 rescue is ‘callous’ cyber scam

A post promising a video of a plane landing on water has been circulating on Facebook, with a title suggesting that it contains news footage showing the rescue of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – but the video is a ‘callous’ cyber scam, according to Hoax-Slayer, and in fact shows a plane landing on water in Bali in 2013.

IT Pro Portal reports that one variant of the scam is a ‘video’ titled, “Malaysia Plane MH370 Has Been Spotted Somewhere Near Bermuda Triangle. Shocking Videos Release Today”, and that the video is being used to spread malware. Other reports say that variants of the scam are used to direct users to spread the video via Facebook, and complete bogus surveys, used by cybercriminals to harvest personal details from their victims.

IT Pro Portal points out that the Bermuda Triangle is 10,000 miles from the last point of contact with the flight.

The Epoch Times reports that the images show a plane crash near Bali in Indonesia in 2013, where 100 passengers were rescued after a plane landed on water. In all reported variants of the scam, there is no video to click through to – just surveys designed to steal personal information, or bogus downloads which are in fact malware.

Hoax-Slayer describe the scam as a ‘callous’ variant on a common cybercriminal trick of using posts which promise ‘sensational’ viral videos to harvest personal information or spread malware.

“The image used in the scam post shows a Lion Air passenger plane that crashed into the sea, when landing on Bali in April 2013. While there were some injuries in the crash, there were no fatalities. The picture has no connection whatsoever with flight MH370,” the site reports. “Once they have shared [on Facebook] as requested, users will then be taken to another fake page that supposedly hosts the video. However, a popup ‘Security Check’ window will appear that claims that they must prove that they are human by clicking a link and participating in an online survey or offer. But, no matter how many surveys or offers they complete, they will never get to see the promised video.”

Scammers often target Facebook with copies of viral content – or entirely fake, sensational videos, such as ‘Giant Snake Swallows Zookeeper’, as reported by We Live Security this year.

ESET researcher Stephen Cobb offers a We Live Security Guide to spotting Facebook scams, “Can we trust our friends not to make questionable decisions on social media? Apparently not, because our friends might actually be scammers in disguise, or just not well-informed.”

In many cases, scam videos will install a ‘rogue’ Facebook app to spread rapidly via the network – but as reported by We Live Security here, such scams can, in the worst case scenario, lead to tainted sites which infect users with malware.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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