ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 6, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — PandaLabs, Panda Security‘s anti-malware laboratory, detected a malicious link on Facebook that was being used to exploit the news of the death of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. Just a few hours after Steve Jobs’ death, scammers had created a Facebook page called “R.I.P. Steve Jobs” which contained a malicious URL and a text claiming that 50 free iPads were being given away ‘in memory of Steve Jobs.’ The page gained five new fans every second and amassed more than 90,000 fans since late yesterday.
As of approximately 8:00 AM PDT this morning, the page has been disabled, but it’s unknown as to how many users’ PCs have become infected since more than 21,000 users clicked the link in less than eight hours.
“Unfortunately, as soon as we learned of Steve Jobs’ death, we knew scammers would start to figure out how to exploit it,” said Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs. “It is not unusual for cyber-crooks and fraudsters to take advantage of headline-grabbing events to spread their creations and affect the maximum number of victims possible in a short period of time.”
These scams work by tricking users into visiting websites where they are told they have won a valuable prize, such as an iPad, an iPhone or TV set. Obviously, the unsuspecting victim will never get the prize, but rather a series of costly spam SMS messages. In addition, malicious websites like these leverage geo-location data to display messages in different languages depending on the user’s location.
The URL shortening service used in the scam seems to indicate this is the same malicious webpage used in similar attacks around the anticipated launch of the iPhone 5 and the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.