Spammers have jumped on Sunday’s news of the death of Osama bin Laden, lacing new spam e-mail runs and search engine optimized Web pages with news of the Al Qaeda chief’s demise at the hands of U.S. special forces.
Researchers at Kaspersky Lab began detecting spam e-mail campaigns and search engine optimized Web pages offering news and images of the slain bin Laden within hours of the first reports of his death in a firefight with U.S. forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Kaspersky Lab expert Fabio Assolini found search engine optimized (SEO) Web pages offering news of bin Laden’s death and purported pictures of the slain terrorist within hours of the first news reports of his death. Clicking those links directed Web surfers to malicious Web pages that try to install Best Antivirus 2011, a rogue anti malware program.
Virus researcher David Jacoby wrote about a Facebook spam campaign that was offering free subway rides and plane tickets to “celebrate Osamas death.” Users visiting the malicious Facebook pages are asked to enter personal information to win a prize, but end up spamming their own friends with the solicitation and get redirected to other pages that seek even more personal information, he wrote.
Researchers caution users to refrain from clicking on images or links in search results to unknown or suspicious domains.
Current events and big news stories are a popular tool that spammers and malware authors use to lure victims. In just one indication of this, Web security firm Websense found that searches for current events and news stories were more likely to contain malicious links than searches for so-called “illicit” content in 2010.