13 October 2014

Viral videos on social media which make sensational claims such as ‘You won’t believe what she did next’, or ‘Shocking Video’, are a well-known method for spreading scams and viruses.

Currently, a malicious video claiming to be of British celebrity Emma Watson is circulating on Facebook. Attempting to launch the video can lead to malware installing on your system, potentially increasing the risk of you becoming the target for other scams seeking your personal information. Clicking the purported Emma Watson video launches a convincing YouTube look-a-like page, but instead of playing the video, an error message states that you need to upgrade Flash Player to watch the video.

“Our system detected that you are using an outdated Video Player version, in order to watch videos on YouTube please update to the latest secured version of Video Player by clicking [the] ‘Upgrade Now’ button below. Once you download and install the update, refresh the browser to watch the video.”

Clicking on the ‘Upgrade Now’ button installs malware on your computer.

Once installed, the malware automatically reposts the video to your Facebook timeline, which could potentially put your friends at risk.

The malware is also capable of changing your browser settings and downloading further malware to your computer. It targets personal data such as phone numbers, which in this case can be added to a premium SMS subscription, charging your phone without your knowledge.

The malware can also enable the criminals to obtain access to your Facebook session and perform unwanted actions on your behalf, automatically liking, posting to or following Facebook pages which they can later sell or monetise.

The scam also redirects you to an online survey which seeks more of your personal information, such as credit cards and email addresses.

Many video scams operate in a similar way to this example. You should be immediately suspicious of any posts, messages or emails offering links to photos or videos.

Scammers are continually seeking to capitalise on public interest in the recent and ongoing nude photo theft from celebrities. Many other scams have leveraged off the popularity of Emma Watson and other stars to spread quickly.

If you see posts or message such as these, ignore them.

It is also worthwhile notifying any friend you see with these videos on their timeline to delete them to avoid others being affected.

As always, you should ensure you have security software installed on your device, all your software is up-to-date, and that you monitor your accounts for unusual activity.

More information

Stay Smart Online has information on managing spam, and avoiding scams and hoaxes.

How to set automatic updates on your computer.

Stay Smart Online advice about setting and using security software.

Information provided by BitDefender.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.

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Disclaimer

This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.

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