Security firm Emsisoft says a new and highly malicious Facebook scam lures users to click on a link that promises to reveal a “shocking secret” found during Whitney Houston’s autopsy.
The famous singer was found dead in her bathtub in a hotel in Beverly Hills, prompting immense media coverage around the circumstances of her untimely death.
The text of this particular scam reads as such: “Whitney Houston’s autopsy reveals a shocking secret that explains her death” or “Whitney Houston’s shocking cause of death revealed” and “The dark secret that ruled Whitney Houston’s life and tragically led to her death.”
Everybody who clicks one of the links that pretend to take them to a well-known American news site will in fact be redirected several times and end up facing a survey page that they are asked to take. This is the first of two methods that the scammers use to transform generated traffic into a mode of profit as they get paid for the survey results.
And finally, the user will see the YouTube video itself, which is of course nothing special, but a normal TV report about the tragedy of Whitney Houston. The more views the better for the scammer who uploaded the video. Every hit raises its ranking, thus subsequently attracting more viewers. Well-placed Google AdSense ads turn this into profit.
Christian Mairoll, CEO at Emsisoft, says, “The YouTube video has already had more than 1,000,000 hits thanks to this Facebook scam. This shows how easy it is to get many people’s attention using a current event for criminal purposes on Facebook. We advise all users not to blindly click a link, but to critically rethink content on Facebook – and in particular, not to immediately share it.”