Issue 170 - January, 2014 (2nd Edition) - Page 17
'Beware Hack Scam Rollercoaster Clip' Facebook Warning Message
Circulating Facebook message warns users about a "hack scam" delivered via a video clip depicting a woman falling from a rollercoaster ride. The message warns that the clip is a virus that will "eat all your info".
The "rollercoaster" threat described is a typical survey scam, not a virus. And while some incarnations of such scams may attempt to trick users into installing rogue apps or malware, it will not "eat all your info" as claimed. This breathless, ALL CAPS message does not adequately warn users about the type of threat it attempts to describe and sharing it may be counterproductive.
BEWARE!!!!! HACK SCAM, THERE IS A CLIP MOST TERRIFIYING FALL EVER WOMAN FALLS FROM ROLLER COASTER (DO NOT CLICK IT) IT WILL EAT ALL YOUR INFO DELETE IT & REPORT ITS A VIRUSE PLEASE SHARE THIS
According to a breathless ALL CAPS "warning" that is currently rocketing around Facebook, users should watch out for a new "hack scam" that will "eat all your info". The message claims that this dangerous "viruse" is being distributed via a video clip featuring a terrifying fall from a rollercoaster ride.
In fact, there is
currently a threat being distributed that tries to entice users into clicking a link by promising footage of the "most terrifying accident ever" involving a woman falling from a rollercoaster ride.
However, the above message does not adequately or accurately describe the threat it is attempting to warn users about and may be counterproductive in its current form.
The "rollercoaster video" threat the message is trying to describe is a survey scam, not a virus. It is just one in a series of recent Facebook survey scams
that try to entice users into sharing bogus material and participating in suspect online surveys. The scams promise video footage of such things as fatal car accidents
, giant snakes
, and shark attacks
as a means of tricking users into clicking a link.
The purpose of these survey scams is to fool users into engaging in various online surveys or offers, thereby earning the perpetrators income via dodgy affiliate marketing schemes. Participants never get to see the promised videos. But, these survey scams do not hack your computer and they certainly do not wipe your hard-drive as suggested in this warning message.
Of course, some survey scams might also try to trick users into installing rogue apps, malicious browser extensions, or other types of malware during the course of the scam.
However, even in these cases, the malware is designed to spam out more of the fake messages or allow criminals to steal information from the infected computer. This malware is not likely to be designed to delete information from your computer. The criminals want access to your information; they do not want to delete it.
It is important that any computer security warning messages contain accurate and current information. Threats need to be described accurately and sensibly so that users can safely and effectively respond should the threat come their way.
Mislabelling a threat as a virus or a hack when it is neither may cause confusion among users and lead to inadequate or ineffective responses to the threat. For example, users who click on links in such survey scam messages may think that their antivirus software will protect them and still end up being dragged into a morass of bogus online surveys. Or, if they have installed a rogue Facebook application via such a survey scam, they may mistakenly believe that the "virus" will be removed by performing an anti-virus or anti-malware scan.
Moreover, due to the over-the-top, ALL CAPS rendering of the message, many users will likely dismiss it as just another fake warning and take no heed of the advice it attempts to provide.
Thus, although the advice in the message not to click links in the rollercoaster accident message are worth heeding, it nevertheless fails as a security warning and should not be shared in its current form.
For the record, the teaser image used in the rollercoaster survey scam message - which ironically does not even depict a rollercoaster accident - is itself fake
and has circulated in various other contexts for many months.
Last updated:January 5, 2014
First published: January 5, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
Pages in this issue:
- 'Paul Walker Still Alive After Accident' Phishing and Survey Scam
- 'Profile Visitors for Facebook' Rogue App and Survey Scam
- PG & E Energy Statement Malware Emails
- Fake Picture: 'Thailand Snake Girl' - Serpentosis Malianorcis
- Tom Crist Lottery Win Advance Fee Scam
- Legoland Child Abduction Attempt Hoax
- Fake Picasa 'New Photos' Emails Point to Dodgy Pharmacy Website
- 'Win a Disney Cruise' Survey Scam
- Bogus Advice - Block Hackers by Adding 'Security' to Facebook Blocking Function
- Fake - Giant Squid Image
- Commonwealth Bank 'eStatement Ready' Phishing Scam
- 'Singer Rihanna Found to be Dead' Facebook Survey Scam
- Satire - Pope Francis and the 'Third Vatican Council'
- Snow Canyon Roadway Image
- Albert (Tapper) Torney and the Can Car Sculptures That He Did NOT Make
- 'Your Atmos Energy Bill is Available' Malware Email
- 'Beware Hack Scam Rollercoaster Clip' Facebook Warning Message
- Sainsbury's 'Customer Satisfaction Survey' Phishing Scame
- Satire - '18 Million Birds Dead New Year's Eve'
- Hoax - 'Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado'
- Hoax Report Claims Paul Walker Faked His Own Death
- 'Shark Eats Swimming Man' Facebook Survey Scam
- 'Notice to Appear in Court' Malware Emails
- 'Most Fatal Car Accident' Survey Scam
- Hoax - Extraordinary Planetary Alignment To Decrease Gravity on January 4
- 'World's Largest Snake Video' Survey Scam
- Michael Jackson Died Years Ago Hoax
- 'My Home is Burning' Facebook Phishing and Malware Scam
- Facebook 'Closed for Maintenance' Prank