Be careful of missing plane ‘news’ links

A woman writes on a board of messages and well-wishes dedicated to people involved with the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370, Saturday, March 15, 2014 in Sepang, Malaysia. The Malaysian passenger jet missing for more than a week had its communications deliberately disabled and its last signal came about seven and a half hours after takeoff, meaning it could have ended up as far as Kazakhstan or deep in the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
A woman writes on a board of messages and well-wishes dedicated to people involved with the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370, Saturday, March 15, 2014 in Sepang, Malaysia. The Malaysian passenger jet missing for more than a week had its communications deliberately disabled and its last signal came about seven and a half hours after takeoff, meaning it could have ended up as far as Kazakhstan or deep in the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Be careful about clicking on links to news stories about the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, consumer advocates warn.

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau says the malicious links are spreading on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. The fake links include captions such as “Video of Malaysia MH370 Plane Found in Bermuda Triangle. Passengers alive” and “[NEWS FLASH] Missing Plane Has Been Found!”

Clicking the link leads to another website, which may include a popup window asking the user to update the computer’s video player. Clicking OK does not download software for the video player; instead, it downloads a virus to the computer.

The BBB has released these tips for staying safe on social media:

  • Don’t take the bait. Stay away from promotions of “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational” footage. If it sounds too outlandish to be true, it’s probably a trick.
  • Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, mouse over the link to see where it will take you. The address of the website it leads to will show up in the bottom of your computer window. Don’t click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.
  • Don’t trust your friends’ taste online. It might not actually be them “liking” or sharing scam links to photos. Their account may have been hacked. But it may also be clickjacking, a technique that tricksters use to trick you into clicking something that you wouldn’t otherwise (especially the Facebook “Like” button).
  • On Facebook, report improper posts and other suspicious activity by following these instructions.
  • On Twitter, if another user is sending you links to malware or other spam, report it to Twitter by following these instructions.
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