Cape Town – As worldwide concern grows for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, hackers have taken to social media sites to run scams to exploit users.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was lost more than a week ago and the search for the plane has expanded to 25 countries searching massive areas of ocean in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere.
While the relatives anxiously await news of the fate of the 239 passengers on board, scammers have moved quickly to exploit the vulnerable with scams directed at social media sites.
One scam says that the plane has been found on a remote atoll and that all passengers and crew are safe.
It purports to have evidence but clicking on the link to the non-existent video downloads an application that spams all your friends and pollutes your news feed.
Some scams that operate along similar lines attempt to convince some on Facebook to download a video application.
There is little doubt that this is a scam designed to infiltrate a computer with malware that could be used to download more malware or even take control of the machine as part of a botnet.
Scammers have also expanded to Twitter where tweets that the aeroplane has been found have generated over 1 000 retweets on the platform.
It is not advisable that you click on the links attached to the tweets as they invariably lead to malware or attack sites.
In mid-2013, security firm Kaspersky Lab found that while attacks on social media sites fell by 3.3%, spam attacks on financial institutions were trending up by 1.1%.
However, social networks are prime targets for scammers because they exploit user behaviour or concern about a particular topic to compromise a machine.