Beware of Scammers Exploiting Bin Laden's Death
It didn't take long for cybercriminals to pounce on the news of Osama bin Laden's death. Facebook scams and malicious Web sites popped up shortly after President Obama announced that U.S. forces had killed the terrorist leader.
"It's the same old bag of tricks with a new veneer," says Jason Glassberg, co-founder of Casaba, a security consulting firm in Seattle. He says scammers are taking advantage of people's morbid curiosity about bin Laden's death by posting images of him that are showing up when people enter certain key words in search engines. If you click on the images, one of two things could happen.
You could be redirected to a site that does a fake virus scan on your computer then prompts you to buy new anti-virus software. This is just a scam to get you to hand over your credit card information or download malicious software onto your computer. Glassberg says it's important to know what type of anti-virus software you're already running on your computer and what its warnings look like. If a warning pops up in an Internet Explorer or Firefox browser window, it's a fake.
The other possibility is that the images themselves contain viruses that will track your actions online, search your computer for personal information or take control of your computer to send spam to others.
Scammers also have posted two fake ads on Facebook promising free sandwiches from Subway and free tickets from Southwest Airlines to celebrate bin Laden's death. If you click on the links, you'll be redirected to another page that will ask you for personal information. Clicking on the ads also gives spammers access to your list Facebook friends, whom they'll spam, Glassberg says.
Watch out on Facebook for videos supposedly of bin Laden's death and burial. If you click on them, you'll be redirected to a site and prompted to download software or a file to watch the video. Once you do, malware will be installed on your computer.