Facebook Video Claiming Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 ‘Found in Bermuda Triangle’ is a Hoax; Hackers Spreading Malware with Viral Fake Stories

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By jaskiran kaur | March 19, 2014 12:09 PM EST

A word of caution for all the social media Web sites users! 'Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle' video has gone viral on Facebook. This is nothing but a hoax leading to spread of malware. The links which appear to be telling the real story are reportedly fake links to fraud surveys listed by hackers.

While missing Boeing 777 still remains a mystery to the world, spammers and hackers are trying to optimize profits from the tragic situation that has intrigued one and all. According to Independent UK such "posts contains videos that look legitimate." These fake links make claims such as the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been found in places ranging from "Bermuda Triangle to having been spotted at sea." Hoax that has now gone viral on Facebook also claims that passengers of Boeing 777 are "alive" or "saved."

Time has listed some of sample hoax or fake links that include attention-grabbing headlines, such as:

"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"

In order to avoid getting affected by malware spreading through fake links, viewers must be wary of appealing words like "Breaking news," "Shocking video" and more. Stories with such prefixes in its titles have potential of going viral on social media Web sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Malware intelligence analyst Chris Boyd told Wired.co.uk, that his company Malwarebytes first located such links circulating on Twitter, with "a mixture of tweets leading to known sites originally posted to Facebook and a new batch of spamblogs, survey scams [and] imitation news sites."

These fake Facebook links or hoax videos require users to click on the link provided. Users are then required to participate in surveys which need them to fill in personal information that makes the hackers' job easier. Sometimes these fake Facebook videos such as "Pray for MH370" also ask users to share them with their friend lists before they could view them.

According to the reports, similar hoax videos or posts were circulating during disasters like Tsunami in Japan in 2011 and catastrophic earthquake in Philippines. As revealed by malware analyst Chris Boyd, these "ranged from Malware and 419 scams to fake donation pages and search engine positioning."

"Anything involving a potential disaster is big money for the scammers, as there's a split between clickers with a penchant for salacious content and those who simply want to know if a relative is OK, or if there's any more news on a breaking disaster," explained Chris Boyd.

A Facebook representative told CBS News that the company has already removed such fake links.

According to Hoax-Slayer.com, the fake video 'Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane found in Bermuda Triangle' circulating on Facebook features photos of plane crash that happened close to Bali in April 2013. The Web site warns that claims made in by the video about missing Boeing 777 are "untrue" and it the viral post did not contain any footage. It was purely designed to "trick Facebook users." 

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