When the public learned of Osama bin Laden's death, everyone had their own personal reaction to the news. Some were quietly thankful. Some engaged in boisterous celebrations. Some prayed this would mean an end to the war on terror.
And some, apparently, immediately began plotting how to use this historical, attention-grabbing event to rip people off.
Scammers and malware writers have wasted no time trying to capitalize on bin Laden's death. From virus-laden websites to spammy Facebook posts, they're hoping for two things: that you'll be curious enough to click, and that they'll make a buck in the process.
There are currently millions of Google searches going on for keywords like "Osama bin Laden dead" or "Osama bin Laden death photo." While many of the websites covering these topics are legitimate, a growing number aren't.
Some of these sites are set up to try and entice you to install malware by—ironically—telling you your computer has been infected with a virus. The site then offers a handy download of a so-called virus-scanning software application, which is actually often a virus itself.
Not only that, but while most malware can’t infect your computer without first gaining access through some sort of user approval (like the above misleading download), there are also types described as "drive-by downloads" that don't require any action on your part.
Facebook is crawling with bin Laden scams, too. One Facebook posting that appeared to be from the BBC included a link titled "Osama bin Laden Killed (LIVE VIDEO)." When clicked, the link takes you to an outside page modeled to look like Facebook, and any input on this page results in comment-jacking on your Facebook account.
Great. Now you've spammed all your FB friends with even MORE spam. Way to go, McFly.
So, what can you do to bypass the nasty underbelly of the scammer's Internet? Look before you click—hover your cursor over the link to make sure it's taking you somewhere you want to go. Don't download free "virus detection" software. Stick with reputable news sources. Check snopes.com to research web-circulated rumors and gossip. Finally: don't repost something (like "GORY DEATH PHOTO OF BIN LADEN!!") unless you're sure it's not a scam.
Have you come across any of these bin Laden-related scams yet?
Image via Facebook