Internet Overrun with Osama Bin Laden Malware Traps

Monday, May 02, 2011



Taking advantage of the deluge of headlines about the death of terrorist Osama Bin Laden, scammers are using the opportunity to take advantage web surfer's curiosity to flood the internet with malware and bogus antivirus scan offers.

Numerous videos are being posted on the Internet with the intent of infecting computers with malware. Zscaler has reported that fake codecs are being delivered on sites touting videos of Bin Laden's death, and the malware traps are being promoted widely on social networks and via internet search engines results:

"Within hours of the announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death, we are already seeing malicious sites emerge to capitalize on the news. One Spanish language site displays a purported photo of a murdered Osama Bin Laden and includes a story about the US led operation. Farther down the page, the reader is presented with a Flash Player window with a message indicating that the user must first update a VLC plugin, which is a popular media player, in order to view the video."

"When the user clicks on the link, they will download a file titled XvidSetup.exe. This file is actually a popular adware tool known as hotbar. At present, 19 of 41 antivirus engines are blocking the file. Sadly, there will be no shortage of scams taking advantage of this historic global news. Users should use caution any time a site claims to be offering video or photos related to this news."

The inability of most antivirus software to detect and block the malware yet means scammers have a short window of opportunity to distribute the malicious links widely in the hopes of ensnaring as many victims as possible before the security industry can catch up.

The Tech Herald reports that search engines are producing numerous results that contain rogue antivirus scanning offers, a common scareware tactic that can infect a user's computer with trojans and backdoors that enable hackers access to sensitive data.:

"The malicious sites that appear the most in the search results are pushing Rogue anti-Virus applications. This junk software will leave a system sluggish, and in some cases completely useless. Variants of this type of fake software will promote it as a system optimization tool, such as a registry cleaner. In either case, the infected system is brought to its knees by a loss of function and a flood of fake warnings."

To avoid the threat of malware-laden websites, Internet surfers should avoid unfamiliar websites and seek out information on the latest breaking news from well established sources, such as websites maintained by major television networks and cable news organizations.

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