Sorry to disappoint, but that link to the supposed Rihanna sex tape is actually a virus. Rumors about who Rihanna’s dating have dominated the Internet for years, and the notion of a sex tape is too juicy to resist for even the most puritanical users, but software experts are warning that “Rihanna sex tape” is one of the most dangerous terms to click on in 2014.
The antivirus firm Bitdefender has published a list of the 10 most common Facebook scams over the first half of this year. Links purportedly enabling users to see how many times their own Facebook profile was viewed were by far the most popular, making up 30.20 percent of the shady links shared on the site. Others included how to “change your Facebook color (7.38%),” “check my status update to get free Facebook t-shirt (4.21%),” and “check to see if a friend has deleted you (2.27%).”
Rihanna’s sex tape, which was the only mention of a celebrity on the list, was the third most popular term, making up 4.76 percent of the malicious links shared. Yet the hackers who deploy such links in the first place, in trying to trick users into downloading malware onto their computer that could result in identity theft or worse, have proven to have incredible staying power.
Viruses disguised as “VIDEO RIHANNA SEX TAPE” began appearing as long ago as 2012, with antivirus experts warning through 2013 that Facebook users should resist. The links, naturally, have changed with Rihanna's dating life. Chris Brown, Jay Z, Chris Martin of Coldplay and latest rumored boyfriend Cliff Dixon have all been said to be co-stars in the nonexistent film.
Im tryna watch Rihanna's sextape
— Felt (@iRel8ate) July 30, 2014
“Why do people still want to see who has been taking a peek at their profile, despite all security warnings? I think they believe these are legitimate apps,” Bitdefender chief security strategist Catlain Cosoi told the Guardian.
Certainly one reason sex tape links are still favored by hackers is their sheer plausibility. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton and dozens of others have seen their fame increase tenfold after videos of them are “accidentally” released (even wrestling fans who yearn for the days of Hulkamania can get in on the action). Unlike the aforementioned "stars," Rihanna is internationally recognized for her talent, but her A-list status and frequent appearances in the gossip pages make for a tempting draw.
Facebook, with its 1.28 billion monthly active users, is a natural target for hackers, who also post still images that appear to be a YouTube video, often of a woman getting undressed or a scantily clad celebrity. But the link-baiting isn’t limited to Facebook, with the Twitter accounts @RihannaSexTape and @RihannaSexTape1 each attracting many followers.
“Scammers have created over 20,000 unique URLs that redirect victims to malicious websites and a fake alluring YouTube video, showing a woman taking her clothes off on a webcam,” Cosoi told the Guardian in a previous interview.
“The video seems to actually play for a couple of seconds to entice male users to click. Malware writers faked the number of viewers so the video seems to have been watched by over a million viewers."
Bitdefender’s list of the top 10 social media scams, provided by the Guardian:
1. Total profile views/visitors – 30.20 percent
2. Change your Facebook Color/Colour – 7.38 percent
3. Rihanna sex tape with her boyfriend – 4.76 percent
4. Check my status update to get free Facebook T-shirt – 4.21 percent
5. Say goodbye to Blue Facebook – 2.76 percent
6. Unsealed. We are giving them away for free – 2.41 percent
7. Check if a friend has deleted you – 2.27 percent
8. See your top 10 profile peekers here! – 1.74 percent
9. Find out how to see who viewed your profile – 1.55 percent
10. Just changed my Facebook theme. It’s amazing – 1.50 percent