Scammers take advantage of bin Laden death

3 May 2011

Users of social networking site Facebook are being warned to ignore a link on Facebook that claims to reveal a video of the death of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The messages, posed as updates on Facebook users’ walls, claim to point to banned video footage of bin Laden’s death by gunfire from US forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, on Sunday.

“SHOCKING NEW video of OSAMA BIN LADENS DEATH!! Exclusive BANNED VDEIO footage of Osama Bin Laden being killed!!!” reads the post.

But before being able to watch the video, users who click on the link are taken to a Facebook page that urges them to ‘Like’ and share the link with their Facebook friends. If a user completes these steps, however, they still aren’t led to the video – instead, they have just helped the spread the link throughout the social network and receive a survey to complete before proceeding.

The scammers earn money whenever a survey is completed, and that’s why they want you to share the link with others, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, wrote on IT security blog Naked Security.

Sophos is advising computer users to be wary of scams pertaining to bin Laden’s death anywhere online.

High-profile events have been a magnet for cyber criminals. Most recently, the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton have had scammers spawn links that bring internet users to malicious websites.