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Facebook 'Virus Alert' - Charlie Sheen Found Dead

Message warns Facebook users to watch out for virus messages that claim that actor Charlie Sheen has been found dead at his home.

Brief Analysis
Charlie Sheen is NOT dead. However, scam posts about Sheen's supposed death contain links to a website that ostensibly contains a video with more information. Attempting to watch the video will in fact spam the message out to other Facebook users and try to trick the viewer into participating in a scam survey.

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Detailed analysis and references below example.

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Last updated: 11th March 2011
First published: 11th March 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

Please neighbors re-post this as often as possible:: "Charlie Sheen found dead at home" Is a virus!! It is very believable so of course people are going to click on it and this is why we need to look after our neighbors and keep re-posting this to ensure that they see it. Remember not everyone is on at this time so re-post later

Charlie Sheen Dead Virus Warning

Detailed Analysis
A message circulating rapidly around social networking website, Facebook, warn other Facebook users to watch out for posts that claim that actor Charlie Sheen has been found dead. According to the warning message, the posts contain a virus. The warning asks that users keep reposting the message so that as many people as possible receive information about the threat.

Charlie Sheen is NOT dead. Scammers are exploiting current interest in the "Two and Half Men" star by using fake reports of his supposed demise to draw Facebook users into a bogus survey scheme.

Posts like the one shown below have been popping up all over Facebook:
RIP! Charlie Sheen found Dead at his House!
Breaking News: Developing Story Charlie Sheen Dies from Cardiac Arrest and taken away in Ambulance!
A link in the message opens a bogus video website that has been designed to look like a Youtube page. Once on the page, the user is urged to watch an "exclusive" video that supposedly provides more information about Sheen's death. However, those who attempt to watch the video are inadvertently clicking a Facebook "Like" button, an action that will automatically repost the scam message to their Facebook walls.

Uses will also be presented with a popup that claims that they must participate in one or more "surveys" before they can access the video. Those who proceed by following one of the survey links will be presented with a series of "surveys" that may ask them to provide contact details and other personal information. Often, these surveys attempt to trick participants into subscribing to extremely expensive SMS services. By participating, they may also inadvertently give permission for marketing companies to contact them via email, phone or surface mail. Moreover, the scammer responsible for the attack is likely to earn a commission whenever a victim participates in one of the bogus surveys.

This attack, a modus operandi known as "clickjacking", is not actually a virus campaign as claimed in the warning message. Nevertheless, if you see a message claiming that Charlie Sheen has died, do not follow any links that it may contain.

Such clickjacking schemes are becoming more and more common. In recent days, virtually identical scams have used the names of other celebrities, including Emma Watson and Christina Aguilera. Other versions attempt to trick users into installing rogue Facebook apps that again direct people to bogus survey sites, ostensibly as a means of verifying their Facebook identity.

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Charlie Sheen has NOT been found dead in his house, despite what Facebook clickjackers say
Beware of Dubious Facebook 'Free Offer' Groups
Lost all respect for Emma Watson? Facebook clickjacking attack spreads virally
Christina Aguilera got arrested video scam spreads virally on Facebook
Facebook 'See Who Viewed Your Profile' Scams - Rogue 'Stalker' Apps
Scammers Exploit 'Facebook Closing Down' Hoaxes via Rogue Apps

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Last updated: 11th March 2011
First published: 11th March 2011
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer