Home Scams Fake-News Reports About ISIS Attacks in US Lead to Malware Websites

Fake-News Reports About ISIS Attacks in US Lead to Malware Websites

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline:
Online ‘news’ reports claim that a number of people have been killed in ISIS attacks in various US locations, including Alabama, Wisconsin, Sacramento, and Riverside.




Brief Analysis:
The claims in the reports are untrue. No ISIS attacks have occurred in the locations mentioned.  The reports come from a scam website that attempts to trick people into visiting sites that contain rogue antivirus software, malware plugins, or other nasties. Similar fake reports have falsely claimed that ISIS attacks have taken place in various Australian and UK locations. If you see one of these messages, do not click on any links that it contains.

Example:
ISIS ATTACK IN ALABAMA 19 KILLS

ALABAMA— Islamic State militants attacked on Monday evening, killing at least 17 people and turning the neighborhood into an urban war zone at rush hour, with helicopters hovering overhead and snipers taking positions on nearby rooftops.ISIS attacks Alabama Scam Post

ISIS ATTACK IN WISCONSIN KILLS 19

Wisconsin — Islamic State militants attacked on Monday evening, killing at least 17 people and turning the neighborhood into an urban war zone at rush hour, with helicopters hovering overhead and snipers taking positions on nearby rooftops.

ISIS Attacks Wisconsin Scam Post




Detailed Analysis:
According to a series of ‘news’ reports that are being shared via social media, ISIS attacks have killed at least 19 people in the United States. The reports are all almost identical except for the supposed location of the attacks. Versions have been set in Alabama, Wisconsin, Sacramento, and Riverside. New versions set in other US locations may soon appear.

Thankfully, however, the reports are untrue.  No such attacks by ISIS have taken place in the locations listed. All versions of the fake news reports are included on the same scam website and are designed to trick people into installing rogue antivirus software, downloading malware plugins, or visiting spammy websites.

When the fake reports first open, a popup window will appear that claims (falsely) that website revenue is going to charity. The popup includes a ‘Continue to website’ button and a ‘close (X)’ button. However, clicking either button redirects you to one of a number of fraudulent websites.

Some of the sites claim that a virus has been found on your computer and urge you to download an antivirus program to deal with the problem. If you download the program and run a scan as instructed, multiple viruses will be ‘discovered’. But, a popup message will then claim that you must pay a fee before the software can remove the ‘viruses’.  In reality, the software is fake and has not really found viruses at all. These rogue antivirus programs are designed to steal your money and credit card information.

Other versions of the fraudulent sites claim that your video player plugin is out of date and you must download an updated version before you can view a video on the page.  But, the plugin contains malware that, once installed, will hijack your browser and display malicious advertising.

Yet more versions open generic websites on various topics such as tech gear, fashion, and health products. These sites in turn try to entice you to visit other spammy websites that peddle various dodgy products or services and get your personal information.

These fake US based sites are very similar to a series of others that falsely claim that ISIS attacks have taken place in various locations in Australia and the UK. If one of these fake reports comes your way, do not click any links that it contains. If you do inadvertently click a link and visit one of the fake ISIS attack reports, exit the site immediately by closing the browser tab the site is loaded in or closing down your browser completely.




Last updated: March 14, 2016
First published: March 14, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
Bogus Posts About ISIS Attacks In Australia Link To Scam Website
Hoax News Story Falsely Reports ISIS Attacks In Glasgow, Cheshire, And South Yorkshire

 

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer