Fake Malaysia Airlines news websites being used to steal user data: Trend Micro

Cybercriminals use missing Malaysia Airlines fake news links to gather user data.

By Silky Malhotra Published Date
19 - Mar - 2014
| Last Updated
19 - Mar - 2014
Fake Malaysia Airlines news websites being used to steal user dat...

Cybercriminals are exploiting the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane by luring customers with the latest news in order to steal their personal information, warns a new Trend Micro report.

The internet security firm has asked users to be careful while clicking on links shared on various social networking sites for news of flight MH370. TrendLabs have spotted various executable file disguised as video which allow scammers to gather a user's data, such as his or her IP address. Some of the fake links are mentioned below.

"[Shocking Video] Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370 found in Sea."
"Malaysian Airlines missing flight MH370 found in Sea - 50 people alive saved."
"CNN UPDATE [Breaking]Malaysian Airplane MH370 Already Found. Shocking Video

The Malaysian Airlines flight mysteriously disappeared from the radar on March 8 while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No trace of the aircraft or its 239 passengers have been found, despite a massive international search.

"Given the heightened interest in the missing flight, it was only time (before) cybercriminals used it to their advantage," TrendLabs expert Paul Oliveria said in a statement.

"Sharing the video, of course, helps cybercriminals spread their malicious link to other users," Trend Micro said in a statement. After sharing, the user will be asked to verify his age by completing a test. The test was "nothing but another survey scam," it said.

Trend Micro added that cybercriminals have previously used tragedies such as Japanese Tsunami of 2011 and last year's earthquake in the Philippines to lure users to malicious websites. The cyber criminals tend to profit from the fake surveys as they ask users to follow the links to malicious sites as well as encourage them to share the video or "news story" on Facebook.

Dhanya Thakkar, Managing Director, India & SAARC, Trend Micro stated: “Cybercriminals have previously used tragedies such as last year's Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and the deadly bomb attack on the Boston Marathon to lure unsuspecting users to malicious websites. User’s should click with caution is such situations as cyber criminals try to cash on such activities. Securing your PCs, tablets and mobile phones with an up-to-date security software is also recommended to the netizens.”