This image released from video shown on an Islamic militant Web site where al-Qaida's media arm, Al-Sahab, frequently posts messages, shows a still image of Osama bin Laden, center. Al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden called on Pakistanis to rebel against President Pervez Musharraf in a new audiotape released on Thursday Sept. 20, 2007 saying his military's siege of a militant mosque stronghold this year makes him an infidel. Bin Laden's voice was heard over video showing previously released footage of the terror leader. (AP Photo)
Cybercriminals have been quick to pounce on Internet users scouring the Internet for information about one of the biggest news events of the last decade: the death of Osama bin Laden.
Within hours of the news that U.S forces had killed the Al Qaeda leader in Pakistan on Sunday, malware began popping up websites optimized to appear on web searchers related to bin Laden's death.
Scammers took advantage of the phrase "Osama bin laden dead" being the most popular Google search on Monday, luring Internet users to links supposedly containing photos, videos and other information surrounding bin Laden's death.
However, many links have been tainted with malware, infecting user's computers when they are prompted to download a file or watch a video.
Image and video searches have been easy targets for scammers as people scramble for visual images of bin Laden. A doctored photo, supposedly taken after bin Laden was killed, was found accompanying a news story and video containing malicious software.
Spammers also tageted Facebook, circulating messages offering fake deals from Subway and Southwest Airlines. When the bogus link is clicked, users are redirected to pages and enticed to enter personal information and email addresses.
Users are urged to be cautious of any links promising photos or videos of bin Laden, as no official photos have been released of bin Laden's body after his death was reported.
Similar scams were reported after the recent earthquake in Japan. Cybercriminals typically exploit significant news events because they encourage users to click on attractive headlines.