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Pictures on Facebook depicting sexual molestation of a lady is new hackers scheme

Empathy and a dose of curiosity pushed Oredola Victoria to check the story section of one Chimex Victor, a Facebook friend of hers.  She wanted to get the full details of the pictures Mr victor shared, apparently taken from the frames of a video clip. 

The images depicted a lady struggling for her life as she is violently held down by some men who are trying to rape her (as the narrative connoted). Almost naked, the lady  is further depicted looking distressed in the  series of pictures shared by Mr Victor on his Facebook status. 

The aim of sharing these pictures, as Mr Victor wrote at the end of the slides, was to  show ladies the dangers of visiting men they do not know well. However, one alarming and disturbing thing that followed was the link he shared on his status for people to watch the full video of the gory scenario. Intending users who may want to watch it, have to manually write down the link since it’s not clickable. 

“When I saw the picture of a lady in distress on Victor’s Facebook story, I felt curious because I wanted to know what happened and who the lady might be. I just felt that the link will be trustworthy since it is my friend who uploaded it,” Victoria said.

After she visited the URL link, she  said her Facebook account was nearly hacked by swindlers. Not just her, many other users who testified to DUBAWA, said they’ve also fallen victims of the same scheme. 

“When I saw the gory pictures of the lady on my friend’s status, I felt bad for her and immediately, I copied the link and visited the URL. I wanted to see if I knew her or the boys as well. Minutes later, the URL did not open and my facebook account for years, compromised,” James Sarki told DUBAWA. 

The basis for the scheme

In recent times, Nigerians often wake up to news of kidnap, rituals or sexual molestation perpetrated by known or unknown people. The victim rate is also high. Therefore, any picture or evidence provided is guaranteed to generate sympathy from followers.

Findings had revealed that more than 4,962 persons were kidnapped between January 2015 and May 2020. Meanwhile, about 2371 persons were kidnapped in the first half of 2021 alone, according to a report released by SBM Intelligence. 

Also, a study carried out by the Ministry of Women affairs and the United Nations -with support from the Norwegian government- revealed that 30 percent of women and girls between the ages of 15-49 experience different forms of sexual abuse, according to the Women Affairs’ Minister, Sen. Pauline Tallen in 2021.

It is, however, surprising that some persons are using these saddening issues to engage in baiting unsuspecting victims.

The nature of the scheme

Facebook users encounter pictures of ladies on friends’ Facebook stories who appear to have been sexually assaulted. The images are gory, usually depicting a battered lady, helpless in the enclave of some men. Like Victoria, unsuspecting users are led by curiosity and are sometimes concerned to choose to watch further via the provided link. 

A typical picture used in the scheme, usually depicting a helpless lady in distressed as presented in this screenshot

It is after watching such pictures that the user is then urged to watch the video via a link made available at the end of the  slide of the story.

Screenshot of the (unclickable) links provided for users to watch further

Subsequently, after the user must have clicked the link, a request for the user’s Facebook login details appears.

Screenshot of the site requesting for login details

Then a page, afterwards, demands the user to share the video (still not accessed by the user) to other social media platforms like Whatsapp, Twitter and Instagram. At this point still, the user is unable to view or share the video as every click is redirected to a sponsored ad and after a persistent effort, the user is informed that “the service is temporarily down due to a large number of requests on the site.”

Screenshot of the site informing user of technical issues

Frustrated and now trying hard to logout, the user  is hindered and the  Facebook login details earlier provided by the user are now exposed to the site owners, whose intents are unknown.

What are the dangers? 

The login request after the link is clicked is a red flag. As a third-party website, it is not ideal for a user to provide such information without assurance from Facebook (now Meta) or any of its sister-platforms.

When the credibility of the URL was analyzed on Scamvoid.net (a website that provides information about a website’s reliability), it was described as ‘potentially unsafe.’

Although it is not blacklisted, the trustworthiness of the website is rated ‘very poor’ with a 2/100 rating. Despite the domain creation about 11 years ago (May 5, 2011), findings revealed that it uses an invalid HTTPS despite enjoying a good volume of traffic (apparently from the massive number of victims it lures). 

This simply implies that the internet communication protocol which protects the integrity and confidentiality of data between the user’s computer and the site is not secure. These are also similar traits of malicious websites previously fact-checked by DUBAWA.

Screenshot of findings on Scamvoid.net

What to do?

It is advisable not to click such links, let alone to provide personal social media login details. This action will not only  put you at risk, but may also enable hackers to easily access your social media accounts.

However, where user details have been given out, the user is advised to activate the two-factor verification in order to provide more security for the accounts. 

To activate this, the user should click on ‘Settings’ under ‘Menu.’ Under this, the 2-factor authentication is made accessible through ‘Security and Login,’ after which all protocols can be followed.

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