Southwest targeted in cloned site Facebook scam

By Brad Girtz
By Brad Girtz
February 23, 2011 11:35 AM GMT

US carrier Southwest Airlines has become the latest airline to become victim of a Facebook scam in which users of the social networking site are promied free flights.

The airline has had its name and website cloned in the latest in a number of scams where hackers have claimed to be airlines in order to steal web users personal data.

The Southwest scam spreads through Facebook Comments and uses Southwest branding to look like the real thing. Anyone who clicks on the link in the comment is taken to a very realistic looking Southwest Airlines website.

This site is a fake but unwary users are encouraged to install a third-party application on their Facebook. Once installed, the malicious program is able to access private user data via Facebook.

It then starts sending out fake comments to the friends of the infected user. This makes it a very fast scam, able to move and infect quickly.

Airlines and other travel companies are considered to be favourite targets for these scams because the promise of a free holiday or filght is hard to resist. 

Internet security firm Sophos said any company that finds itself being used in a scam should be sure to call the proper authorities and notify users on its website. The firm also created this video to help Facebook users take the malicious application off their profile.

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