Oslo tragedy and Amy Winehouse death spark Facebook scam surge

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winehouse.jpgIt’s been a truly sad weekend for news. From the tragic extremist attacks in Norway of Anders Behring Breivik that have left nearly 100 people dead to the sudden, untimely death of jazz superstar Amy Winehouse, many tears have been shed around the world.

As with every major world event however, this weekend’s tragedies have not passed without mercenary tactics from opportunistic criminals online. There has reportedly been a massive jump in social networking malware and scam attacks, as the likes of Facebook and Twitter are flooded with fake news sources related to the sad stories.

“The tragic events that occurred at the end of last week with the Norway attacks and the sudden death of the British singer Amy Winehouse has spurred even more unwanted scam activities in cyberspace. Websense Security Labs ThreatSeeker Network has detected scams propagating in Facebook pretending to offer a ‘look at footage of Amy Winehouse just moments after her death’, and similar,” said Elad Sharf of Websense Security Labs.

“The truth is there is no such video footage, however video’s are an especially popular lure. The type of scam use here is a ‘survey scam’ where users are lured to complete a survey and in return promised to be shown an ‘exclusive’ video or footage. Completion of the surveys merely puts data (and therefore money) in the scammer’s pockets and obviously as there is no such footage, users that completed the survey aren’t shown the promised video.

“Please be cautious when clicking on breaking news stories. Social networks and search engines are all heavily abused by malware authors. If you want to read more about a story it could be safer to go directly to a trusted news page”.

Patrick Runald, Websense Security Labs senios manager added:

“Criminals know how to take advantage of disasters and the hottest news items to get people to click on infected links. Tragedy is just one type of news that the bad guys use to exploit, compromise and infect your computer. Videos are an especially popular lure, we saw the same thing when Osama bin Laden died and during the time Casey Anthony was acquitted.

“During times of crisis or breaking news, your best bet is to stick with the largest news organizations you trust. Avoid the potentially dangerous halls of search engines and social media sites, which are more susceptible to compromise and manipulation”.

Gerald Lynch

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