The weakest link in our defense to computer security attacks can be our natural curiosity. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation issued a warning for computer users that the latest hacking scam circulating the internet are messages claiming to include photos and videos of Osama bin Laden’s death. These messages actually contain a virus that could steal personal information.
President Obama has blocked the release of photos and videos of bin Laden’s death, citing concerns about inciting retaliatory attacks.
Hackers are e-mailing a password-stealing Trojan horse program called Banload to victims, and spamming victims with links to fake “Osama dead” news articles that launch Web-based attacks on visitors. Hackers have also used a technique called search engine poisoning to try to trick search engines into listing hacked Web pages that are loaded with malware in their search results. “It’s unlikely you’ll find pictures or videos of Bin Laden’s death online — but searching for one will certainly take you to sites with malware,” wrote F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hyponnen in a blog post.
The FBI warned Internet users to watch out for fake messages on social network sites and to never download software in order to view a video. “Read e-mails you receive carefully. Fraudulent messages often feature misspellings, poor grammar, and non-standard English,” the FBI warning stated.
Feel free to pass on this warning to your friends and colleagues.