Japanese Tsunami Launches Whale Into Building? It's a Facebook clickjack scam

Filed Under: Clickjacking, Facebook, Social networks, Spam, Vulnerability

WhaleSick-minded scammers are up to their dirty tricks again, trying to make a quick buck out of the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami which has shocked people around the world.

Many people are shocked by the TV news reports, showing the devastation wrought on the people of Japan, and some of the video footage taken by media agencies and individuals in the country is truly extraordinary.

And it is against this backdrop that scammers have launched their latest campaign.

Japanese Tsunami Launches Whale Into Building

Japanese Tsunami Launches Whale Into Building
You won't believe this! Crazy Footage!

Other versions read:

GRAPHIC VIDEO.. Japans Tsunami Sends WHALE Smashing Into A Building!

Of course, this is just the latest FouTube clickjacking attack to hit Facebook, and sure enough if you click on the link you are taken to a webpage which tries to trick you into clicking (which will silently say to all of your Facebook friends that you "Like" the page).

Japanese Tsunami Launches Whale Into Building video

Will you get to see a video of a whale launched into a building by the Japanese tsunami? No, of course not.

Instead, you're asked to complete a survey which earns commission for the scammers.

Tsunami whale survey

When I tried it, the survey attempted to tempt me with the offer of a purple iPad. Funny, I thought Steve Jobs only made them in black and white.

Purple iPad offer

How to clean-up after a likejacking attack
If you made the mistake of clicking on a link spread via a scam message like the ones listed above, you should check your Facebook news feed and remove any offending links that you might have spammed out to your friends. Hover your mouse over the top right hand corner of the post and you should see a small "x" which will allow you to remove it.

And if you entered your mobile phone number, you should keep a close eye on your cellphone bill and notify your carrier to prevent bogus charges from stinging you in the wallet.

Remember to be wary of any links that look like this. If you really want to watch a video chances are that it's available for free - without you having to complete any surveys - on legitimate video sites like YouTube.

Going forward, it's essential that you stay informed about the latest scams spreading fast across Facebook and other internet attacks. Join the Sophos Facebook page, where more than 100,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

We've also published some good best practices for better privacy and security on Facebook.

Hat-tip: Thanks to Naked Security readers Don, Rogi and Tripad who contacted us about this scam.

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19 Responses to Japanese Tsunami Launches Whale Into Building? It's a Facebook clickjack scam

  1. EDJjd · 1317 days ago

    I just saw someone post this so I gave them this link

  2. I faced a similar problem around the same time. There was a link on my timeline (on Facebook) from a reputable friend. It was pointing to some video. I clicked on the link which opened up some other page, and the noticed it was asking for a survey to give me a free iPhone. I closed the page. A few moments later, I saw the same link on my timeline being inserted (shared) by me. I certainly didn't share the link. I marked it as SPAM. It was removed. I refreshed, and it was back. I did it again and again, and it returned again and again. I then removed it. But Facebook gave an error message saying it could not be removed. I had to deactivate my Facebook account. I was worried about privacy and I saw some of my friends "sharing" the link (and I found out they had the same problem). I created a new profile on Facebook and abandoned the other one

    • Karri · 1311 days ago

      what you should have done is "reset" browser not refresh, refresh will bring it back but reset, clears cache and everything, and then try .. again .. you may need to reinstall your software if you don't "reset" and change your password before the virus is on your system.

  3. Guy C · 1316 days ago

    One point on this scam - I have tried to remove the link from my page and I get a message saying "Failed to remove mini-feed". I have clicked on Mark as Spam numerous times, even though it is a link from my own page. This hasn't removed it. Just to be sure I've changed my FB password. But they seem to be getting insidious with this scam.

    • Karri · 1311 days ago

      I've had that happen too. But it wasn't a viral link .. it was a post that I had made and wanted to remove as I posted it twice. I think that is a Facebook glitch and you should try again at another time to remove the post...

  4. jillian · 1316 days ago

    my name is jillian wales i am 32 years old, i would like to see the footage of the whale

  5. Megan Kenal · 1316 days ago

    when removing the post, go one step further: when you click the "x" you'll get a little popup that gives you options. don't just "remove post" - "remove post and unlike page" is what you want, or else it will stay in your pages you like on the info page of your profile, allowing the scam to still (theoretically) propogate, albeit at a much slower rate.

    • H Ervin · 1307 days ago

      I did the very thing you suggest - the page remains on my Pages I Like list and I cannot access the page to "unlike" the page as I can any other page. :P

      • Marie Suetsugu · 1293 days ago

        I have exactly the same problem. When I removed the post from my Wall, I just removed it (without unliking the page...), which was about 2 weeks ago. Yesterday, I noticed that a link called 'GRAPHIC VIDEO.. Japans Tsunami Sends WHALE Smashing Into A Building' is in my 'Activities and interests' list...! I can't remove it from this field (I get an error message). Could someone please, please advise me what to do??

  6. Had a friend caught out by this which is very odd as he was in my IT class at College and quite tech savvy. Pointed him to naked security and told him to get a grip on his security precautions.

  7. Steve · 1316 days ago

    Aren't you using the tragedy as a platform for gaining exposure also?

  8. evely · 1315 days ago

    everything has to be about making a dime!!! darn

  9. Karri · 1311 days ago

    I seen a new one Today ....
    There's a photo link of a females butt and it says...

    "OMG: New Teacher from behind"

    The link is a bit.ly link ... 2 friends have clicked on it already!!
    IT"S A TROJAN VIRUS .... but can't find info about it...have you seen or heard about it??

  10. Jamie · 1309 days ago

    I accidentally clicked on the Japan Whale video thing and got the survey, which then posted it to my account. It then sent my Facebook account really weird, and wouldn't let me click certain things, such as the option to remove said Like.
    To get rid of it I cleared my browser's cache and then it let me "Remove and Unlike page", to which my account returned to normal. Hope this helps anyone else who did this.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.