Lowest Of The Low Capitalise On Ukraine Tragedy

Fake MH17 condolence sites carry low-class pop-ups for online gambling, porn and other suspicious offers

Tragedies often bring out the best, but also regrettably the worst in humanity, and the latter surfaced this week with reports in the Sydney Morning Herald that fake condolence websites set up for the Malaysian Airlines tragedy in Ukraine exposed site visitors to pop-ups advertising online gambling, porn and get-rich-quick websites.

The newspaper reports that at least six such sites have been set up, three of them in the names of children who perished on the ill-fated flight.

The BBC reported on the fake sites as well, singling out one as a Facebook page dedicated to the memory of one of the 298 victims of the tragedy and urging viewers to click on a video camera record of the Ukraine crash. But users who clicked on the link found themselves on a porn site.

It's unfortunate and deeply regrettable that the online gambling industry includes creatures so base as to try to exploit this awful loss of innocent lives, but apparently such schemes can be very lucrative.

Alastair MacGibbon, director of the University of Canberra's Centre for Internet Safety, told the Sydney Morning Herald that lowlifes such as these are often rewarded with advertising or referral revenue for directing traffic to certain sites.

Hopefully, Facebook and other hosts for these hugely insensitive sites will be quick to remove the offending offers.

The Sydney Morning Herald records that this sort of exploitive behaviour is nothing new, quoting examples that occurred in the wake of tragedies like the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, which claimed 26 lives; and the Boston Marathon bombings last year.

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