'Free Subways' and other bin Laden-related Internet scams

Security experts already documenting efforts to capitalize on killing of terrorist leader

Once President Obama gave the word Sunday morning, U.S. special forces swung into action, beginning a chain of events that soon led to the execution of Osama bin Laden.

And only minutes after Obama announced the death of the al-Qaeda leader, cyber-scammers around the world also swung into action, determined to use demand for information regarding bin Laden's death as a carrot to lure in victims.

From Network World:

[C]loud-security firm Zscaler (cites) ... the example of one Spanish language site that displays a purported photo of a murdered Osama Bin Laden and includes a story about the US led operation. The page includes 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. The link is, unsurprisingly, a bad one, said researchers.

"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," according to the Zscaler blog post.

It's common practice for cybercriminals to leverage high-profile news events, thus tapping into a built-in audience of people hungry for information. The trouble is, the scammers offer victims much more than they asked for, like malicious code or financial swindles.

From the U.K.'s Daily Mail:

[S]cammers immediately set-up fake news stories in the hope of luring unsuspecting people onto malware-infected websites.

Among the search results being targetted are 'Osama Bin Laden Dead', 'Al Qaeda', 'Navy Seals' and 'Obama Address'. The fake search results link through to sites that contains the Rogue anti-virus.

This bogus software, which is most likely promoted as a registry cleaner, leaves most computers sluggish and unresponsive, and a few completely unusable.

Security experts warn that readers interested in following a story should stick with well-known news sites.

Speaking of scams, check out this one on Facebook, flagged by Kaspersky Lab Expert David Jacoby, who writes that he "saw that Facebook ads are already spreading using videos of the death of Osama Bin Laden as a trigger. On one Page we can see multiple users posting the same URL, with the following message":

"Sweet! FREE Subway To Celebrate Osamas Death - 56 Left HURRY!" or "2 Southwest Plane Tickets for Free - 56 Left Hurry"

The message includes a link that leads readers into redirect hell, requiring them to leave messages and their email addresses to win something.

This strikes me as a particularly stupid scam. Is anyone out there really eager to run down to their local Subway and say they'd like to celebrate Osama's death with a free Black Forest Ham Footlong?

Of course someone is. Subway, brace yourself for an onslaught of idiocy.

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