updated 3/14/2011 2:14:10 PM ET 2011-03-14T18:14:10

It didn’t take long for Facebook con artists to pounce on the global interest in the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan last Friday (March 11).

In one scam, Facebook criminals are claiming to have “crazy footage” of a massive tsunami wave launching a whale into a building in Japan, according to researchers at the security firm Sophos. The video is being spread via links in wall posts, and is labeled

Crazy, scandalous videos always drum up curiosity on the Internet, and social networking scammers are well aware of this. Users who are tempted to see the extraordinary whale video, called “Japanese Tsunami Launches Whale Into Building,” are taken to a site called

When they click on what they think will be the video, they immediately become victims of a “likejacking” scam, in which they silently “like” the Facebook video and spread it via wall posts to their friends. And after all that work, there is no video.

The whale scam drummed up enough attention to appear as a topic in Yahoo! Answers over the weekend. Yahoo quickly removed the link.

Sophos researchers have seen another similar likejacking scam exploiting the tragic tsunami. This one directs users to a video on the website with a French title that translates to “Exclusive video of the tsunami reaching Japanese shores – A must-see video of the Japanese tsunami of 11 March 2011.”

A third tsunami-related scam tries to look legitimate by purporting to show CNN footage of the event, but like the others, it’s a fake, designed explicitly to generate money for the online criminals.

Clicking on this video, called “Japanese Tsunami RAW Tidal Wave Footage,” directs users not to any shocking video, but instead to a survey page crafted by the online criminals.

“It’s a sad reflection on human nature that a series of scams have appeared since the disaster in Japan, all trying to make commercial gain out of what is a horrific human tragedy,” Sophos’ Graham Cluley wrote on the company’s Naked Security blog.

Cluley added, “Remember to always get your news from legitimate news websites, and if you’re hunting for a video make sure that you go the real YouTube website rather than a replica set up by scammers.”


© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments