WARNING: Facebook Malware Poses As Steve Jobs RIP

Beware: Amid the ubiquitous posts by users mourning the death of Steve Jobs, some of the postings about the founder of Apple lead to malware. Free iPad scams have also returned to the site.

The tragic death of one of the greatest modern innovators, Steve Jobs, has inspired what seems like a record number of eulogy postings on Facebook. Unfortunately, on the other side of the coin, they are also being exploited by heartless scammers.

Jobs is largely responsible for such natty devices such as iPods, iPhones, iPads, and iTunes, and a scam posting circulating today claimed that 50 free iPads were being made available in memory of the deceased Apple-growing hero.

Once the link was clicked, the user will be taken to an online survey to qualify for the prize. The scammer then receives money for any surveys that are completed.

Of course, who wouldn’t want a free iPad? We all would. Therefore this simple scam, dare we say, was rather clever (although, obviously in extremely bad taste) and used a proven method to get clicks — as it seems like the sort of tribute that seems perfectly viable.

As a result, people clicked on this scam link pretty quickly after it was posted on a “R.I.P. Steve Jobs” fan page that they had joined.

The fan page was presumably set up by the scammer as he or she heard of Steve Job’s death due to correctly predicting that great numbers would want to pay tribute by joining such a group.

The link used the bit.ly short url service, which stopped the link being used after Sophos reported the problem to the site.

Sophos reports that over 15,000 bargain-hunters fancied the chances of getting their mitts on a freebie by clicking the link… and found themselves confronted with the aforementioned online survey.

This downright disgraceful way of getting a bit of fast cash is nothing new for scammers, as we have previously seen similar ploys like this in the past.

For example, Amy Winehouse’s death resulted in posts claiming to have video footage of her final hours.

While Facebook has just implemented technology by Websense to identify malicious links, along with other security technologies that together have contributed to a precipitous drop in scamware proliferating on the site, it’s still important to remain vigilant for other scams preying on people’s grief or any other phenomenon that’s trending the most.

Scammers like to exploit top news stories to their full advantage to get their malware links to be clicked. So, please be very careful about links to third-parties — think before you click on any of them.

Sadly, it looks like the cunning scammers made a good job of tricking Steve Jobs’ fans when they’re vulnerable.

Guest writer Andrew Parker has contributed many specialist articles on computer and mobile-phone forensics.