Malaysian Airlines Flight 17: Social Media Spammers Exploit 2nd MH Plane Crash Tragedy
By Vittorio Hernandez | July 22, 2014 9:10 AM EST
The ugly head of exploitative groups and individuals reared again in social media sites as they try to exploit the second tragedy to hit the embattled Malaysian Airlines whose MH 17 flight was hit by missile while flying over Ukraine airspace, killing all 298 people aboard the Boeing 777 jet.
BBC reports that the link to one porno Web site is masked as a video of a Malaysian Airlines crash posted on the Facebook fan page dedicated to one victim. The link has the title Video Camera Caught the moment place MH17 Crashed over Ukraine. It was posted in an FB community page dedicated to Liam Sweeney, a crash victim.
On Twitter, a large number of tweets are disguised as commenting on the air mishap, but when clicked open would turn out to be links to spam. Twitter warned members that any account which would engage in user abuse and technical abuse would not be tolerated and be suspended permanently. One sign of such kind of content are multiple posts of unrelated updates to a topic, using a popular hashtag, trend or popular topic.
Richard Cox, chief intelligence officer of Spamhaus, an anti-spam group, said it isn't unusual for spammers to exploit the situation since it is a trending topic online, saying, "It is a fairly rapid and predictable response by the individuals behind it. They are all to make money. There is no compassion involved."
Inquisitr reported that scammers used three child crash victims until Facebook closed their pages. It added that another adult crash victim, Liliane Derden, could have been the subject of an FB scam, which prompted Carly Taylor, Derden's friend, to delete the latter's Facebook account to prevent it from being used by hoaxers and scammers.
Alastair MacGibbon, director of University of Canberra's Centre for Internet Safety, described what is happening as a "really distasteful trend." He said, "Crooks are really fast these days at picking up on anything that's remotely topical, and working out how to monetise it from a criminal point of view."
He added, "There's a lot of money on click fraud ... You're really dealing with a base type of person who uses the name of a person recently deceased in a tragedy to monetise."
Here is a sample of the click fraud posted in YouTube
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