Beware: Online Scams and Malware Exploits on the Rise after News of Osama Bin Laden's Death

osama-bin-laden-deadComputer users are strongly warned to beware of new malware scams and exploits circulating the Internet related to one of the most significant events of the year thus far, Osama Bin Laden's death.

News of U.S. Special Forces killing Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has been one of the most searched topics on the Internet today. Security experts are warning computer users to be on the lookout for spam messages and online scams related to the death of Osama Bin Laden.

Currently, one of the hottest Internet search keywords, according to Google Trends (Figure 1), is 'Osama Bin Laden Death'. This is no surprise to us as on Sunday the world received news of a small firefight of American forces against Bin Laden and his cronies resulted in his demise. Since then, a majority of conspiracy mongers and those with inquisitive minds are seeking an image of Bin Laden's body while at the same time sifting the Internet to uncover any additional details. The massive Internet activity surrounding this news has given cybercrooks a chance to capitalize on those seeking out these details.

google-trends-osama-bin-laden-dead
Figure 1 - Google Trends most popular search terms on May 2, 2011

Unfortunately, some security researchers have already seen fake images of Bin Laden's body circulating the Internet such as on a Spanish language site reported with an embed video. Reportedly, the embedded video leads to a malware exploit prompt that asks probing computer users to download and install Flash Player but instead installs an adware tool known as 'hotbar' that comes in the form of an executable file named 'XvidSetup.exe'.

Cybercrooks are always on their heels in the event that breaking news hits the Internet waves. The latest news about Osama Bin Laden is a perfect opportunity for the virtual sharks of the Internet to take a bite out of the surfers who are looking for any further news regarding Osama Bin Laden's death including images and video.

Not only have the scammers infested the Internet waters, but they wrapped their jaws around social networks such as Facebook. A spam message scam was already discovered on Facebook, according to a Kaspersky Lab blog post, reading:

'Sweet! FREE Subway To Celebrate Osamas Death - 56 Left HURRY!" or "2 Southwest Plane Tickets for Free - 56 Left Hurry'

When a user clicks on the bogus Facebook link found in the message above, they are prompted to post a message to get more information on the offer which causes them to be redirected to several pages, eventually leading to a phishing site designed to steal personal information.

We are more than certain that we will continually see additional scams and spam messages related to Osama Bin Laden's death arise not only in the form of malware laden search engine results, but through Facebook and even Twitter.

Surfers must use precautions when searching for 'Osama Bin Laden death' news as well as opening related emails. Lately, the Internet waters have been relentless when it comes to Internet users surfing without some type of common sense or security. In other words, if something seems too good to be true, trust your instinct in believing that it is.

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