America is the only country that went from barbarism to decadence without civilisation in between. - Oscar Wilde
MORE SPAM VIDEOS have gone viral on Facebook, enticing members of the social network to click on links that take them on magical journeys to the land of scams.
The newest of the lot is the return of a video allegedly featuring a scantily clad woman on a beach with a headline proclaiming, "Look what this girl is wearing on the beach in front of thousands of people!"
This video was doing the rounds almost two years ago, and it's back with the same intent, to lure the curious. The fake video is accompanied by a picture of a woman in a bright pink bikini along with a description that reads, "During the summer holidays, this girl took the opportunity to do something unheard of! I bet no one can do the same."
Once internet users who are overcome with curiosity click on the link, they are instantly taken out of the social network to a third-party website that pretends to be Facebook, complete with what appear to be comments from other users.
Don't click on it, don't Like it, and don't Share it. This of course is fake and if you try to watch the video you will be told that you must share the link before you will be allowed to proceed, thereby appearing in the newsfeeds of your friends and spreading it even further.
The purpose of these fake videos is usually to drive traffic to scammers' websites, most of which either are riddled with spyware and links to malware or make money by asking redirected users to take online surveys, which earn the websites small amounts of cash.
Despite knowing that these ridiculous videos will probably result in your computer crawling with spyware, the curiosity to watch them - because one tiny portion of your brain thinks it could actually be genuine - is often enough to make some users proceed and take the risk.
Anything on Facebook that asks you to look at it usually means that you should avoid it like the plague. Unfortunately, these kinds of posts are repeated because thousands of people fall for them time after time.
Last week, for example, veteran security industry expert Graham Cluley reported that thousands of Facebook users were being duped into helping fraudsters earn money by sharing links purportedly showing a video of a giant snake eating a zookeeper. Yes, that's right, eating a zookeeper.
"Men being eaten by sharks, women falling from roller coasters, zookeepers being eaten by giant snakes... even if these videos were for real, are you really the sort of ghoulish person who wants to watch this kind of thing?" asked Cluley in a blog post. Unfortunately, yes, most of us are. However, he continued.
"Clearly if they manage to trick many Facebook users into sharing the link, and use a sensational video as bait, they're going to get a lot more people clicking on the link. You may also find your computer ridden with irritating toolbars that you never wanted, and bedevilled by adware that is hard to remove - again, all earning money for the people behind the 'giant snake' campaign."
As reported in security firm Eset's "We Live Security" blog, such scams can, in the worst scenario, lead to tainted websites that infect victims with malware.
"When Twitter accounts for two CBS shows, 60 Minutes and 48 hours, were compromised in April last year, they began to spam readers with links [found] to be tainted with malware," the blog reads. "Such 'clickjacking' scams are used by activist groups, such as Syrian Electronic Army's hijacking of news site E! Online's Twitter feed to broadcast a tweet saying, 'Breaking! Justin Bieber - I'm a gay'."
Security experts warn users that if they really want to watch a video, they should go to a website like Youtube, which never forces them to share a link on Facebook or complete an online survey before letting them watch the content. µ
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