• A makeshift memorial is seen outside the Consulate General of France during a vigil for the victims of an attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, in San Francisco, California.Reuters
  • A screen shot of the fake BBC website.Screen Grab

A website which copied the looks of BBC News and published an article that claimed the Paris attack could be a false flag is a fake one.

The hoax webpage carried a mockup of BBC website under with a domain name: bbc-news.co.uk. It also had a fake BBC YouTube account and links on the page directed to the original BBC  website.

The real BBC news content comes via www.bbc.co.uk or www.bbc.com domains.

Both the fake site and the YouTube account have now have been removed, However, the Google web cache of the website can be accessed here.

The web page began with an original story published in an Iranian news portal based on comments by Dr Paul Craig Roberts.

The story then goes on to raise doubts about the authenticity of the Charlie Hebdo shooting video where the gunmen are seen killing a Paris policemen. The article stated that the "video clip broadcast by news agencies across the world in relation to the recent events in Paris is now under scrutiny."

It then refers to discussion on social media such as 'lack of blood' as proof that the video of the actual Charlie Hebdo massacre was fake.

The story also carried quotes from a "David Mayhew, a forensic and ballistics expert" saying: "If the video shows events as they actually occurred, then in my opinion it is most likely that the firearm shown is discharging blanks rather than conventional ammunition". In all probability 'David Mayhew' is a fictitious name.

The article on the fake website soon gained traction as people believed they were reading a genuine BBC story. To make it look genuine, the fake BBC website even carried real time content from the BBC News online domain.

Peter Kruse, founder of Cyber Security Intelligence Services Security Group (CSIS) and head of the CSIS eCrime Unit, told Anadolu Agency that the use of BBC name by the fake website was not only illegal but would hurt the reputation of BBC.

"The fake website mirrors the content on the real BBC website in the last detail and real-time, and then puts in its own article. Clearly this is an illegitimate use of BBC's reputation and very problematic, but it is something which, technically today, is very easy to do," Kruse said.

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