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More online evil exploiting tragedy in Japan

Mar 14, 20112 mins
Data and Information Security

Friday, I told you about poisoned search results exploiting the tragedy in Japan. Predictably, the bad guys spent the weekend deepening their efforts to exploit the earthquake and tsunami with an array of dirty tricks online.

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Graham Cluley at Sophos wrote of the following scams in his blog:

Facebook users are being tricked into clicking on links which claim to be raw CNN footage of the Japanese tsunami by cold-hearted scammers – as part of a plot to earn money by driving web traffic to take online surveys.

The videos, which in the examples seen by Sophos exist on a website called spinavideo, purport to be footage of the horrifying tsunami which hit parts of Japan on Friday.

Clicking on the link takes unsuspecting users to a website which pretends to be YouTube, but is in fact designed to clickjack users into unwittingly agreeing to Facebook “Like” the page (which spreads the scam virally across the social network).

Users are then tricked into taking an online survey which earns commission for the scammers. No doubt the scammers are hoping that by pretending the video footage comes from CNN, more people might be tempted to click on it.

It’s a sad reflection on human nature that a series of scams have appeared since the disaster in Japan, all trying to make commercial gain out of what is a horrific human tragedy.

Remember to always get your news from legitimate news websites, and if you’re hunting for a video make sure that you go to the real YouTube website rather than a replica set up by scammers.

His post includes screen images of the scam sites, as well as instructions for those who clicked the links on how to clean up the mess. –Bill Brenner

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