Cybercriminals use fake MH370 websites to steal data

March 18, 2014
Students walk past a giant mural featuring missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 displayed on the grounds of their school in Manila on March 18, 2014

Cybercriminals are exploiting the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane by luring users to websites purporting to offer the latest news in order to steal their personal information, an Internet security firm warned Tuesday.

Trend Micro urged Internet to exercise caution when clicking on links shared on for news of flight MH370, which mysteriously vanished from the radar in the early hours of March 8 while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

There is no trace of the aircraft or the 239 people on board, despite a massive international search.

Trend Micro said its global network of research, service and support centres TrendLabs had spotted an executable file disguised as a video that, when clicked, allowed scammers to collect a user's data, such as his or her IP address.

"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.

Another scam enticed Facebook users to click a link that leads to a page with the heading: "(BREAKING NEWS) Malaysia Plane Crash into Vietnam sea MH370 Malaysia Airlines is found!"

When the link is clicked, users are taken to a fake page with a "ready to play" video. Further clicks will prompt the user to share the link before the video can be viewed.

"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 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.

Explore further: Facebook users warned of 'likejacking' scam

Related Stories

Hackers promise AFP photos in 'email scam'

October 21, 2011

A computer security firm warned on Friday that cybercriminals were attempting to exploit Agence France-Presse photos of slain Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi in an email scam.

US suspects missing plane flew on for hours

March 13, 2014

US investigators suspect a missing Malaysian airliner was in the air for four hours after its last confirmed contact, and may have been diverted to an unknown location, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Recommended for you

How to curb emissions? Put a price on carbon

September 3, 2015

Literally putting a price on carbon pollution and other greenhouse gasses is the best approach for nurturing the rapid growth of renewable energy and reducing emissions.

Magnetic fields provide a new way to communicate wirelessly

September 1, 2015

Electrical engineers at the University of California, San Diego demonstrated a new wireless communication technique that works by sending magnetic signals through the human body. The new technology could offer a lower power ...

For these 'cyborgs', keys are so yesterday

September 4, 2015

Punching in security codes to deactivate the alarm at his store became a thing of the past for Jowan Oesterlund when he implanted a chip into his hand about 18 months ago.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

antialias_physorg
not rated yet Mar 18, 2014
Trying to benefit from people's suffering...there ought to be some severe punishment for that.
TheGhostofOtto1923
1 / 5 (1) Mar 18, 2014
Trying to benefit from people's suffering...there ought to be some severe punishment for that.
Religions do this all the time while actually creating the suffering they feed off of. Why don't you condemn them as well?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.