Hoax exploits the Malaysian airline mystery to steal users’ info

We probably shouldn’t be surprised that hackers and hoaxers are already using the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 to spread malware and steal information. 

But on social media and email, these cybercriminals are hard at work, exploiting the likely tragedy for their own gain.

The top threat is a link purporting to be to a video of the plane being found in the Bermuda Triangle.

(Let’s just ignore for a second that the flight went missing 10,000 miles from the Bermuda Triangle: These scams aren’t designed to fool discerning users, they’re set up to appeal to everyone’s curiosity.)

When users click the link, they’re redirected to a fake survey that collects personal information and doesn’t actually deliver video or shows images of an Indonesian flight that made a water-landing in 2003. They also may contain malware.

This tactic isn’t new. Similar links meant to entice users to click on “videos” from the Boston Marathon bombings surfaced last year.

Phishing is easier than ever

Infecting systems with malware is easier than ever. You don’t even need to have a user’s email address, if a link is enticing enough it’ll go viral and hit many potential eyeballs online.

Safe browsing is a must, especially on social media. Warn users to:

  • avoid clicking on links that friends have posted and especially that were sent to their messaging accounts uninvited
  • avoid gossipy and newsy stories coming from strange sources, and, if possible
  • stay off social media at work.

(For a sample social media policy that you can use to protect yourself, check out this page.)

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