A seemingly innocuous Facebook message which contains the attention-grabbing headline – “Osama dead – censored video leaked” – has wreaked havoc in Dubai and across cyberspace.

Fast multiplying

“The virus multiplies exponentially – primarily because of Facebook being so popular,” said Kazi Mohammad Akram, General Manager, Ras Infotech, a Dubai-based representative of F-Secure and M86 web content security firm. “It’s early to tell the extent of the damage in the UAE as it assumes many forms,” he added.

Finnish security company F-Secure first threw out an advisory about the virus on Monday, The FBI issued a similar warning on Wednesday.

“It’s a comment-jacking scam in which every click or comment on this [Censored Osama video] Facebook post is hijacked and sent to everyone on your friends list. We’re expecting various flavours of this scam to continue spreading in the next few days – including search engine poisoning and malicious spam e-mails,” said Akram, advising people not to open unsolicited emails. “Go to safe websites only for news or information,” he cautioned.

Bin Laden’s death on May 1 meant millions of hits on the internet – giving virus makers the perfect opportunity to infect computer users.

Hackers poison search engines by creating websites using ‘hot topic’ search words – such as “Osama” or “Bin Laden” – that then download malicious code when clicked.

Ryan S., a Dubai-based logistics executive said: “I’ve seen many online friends auto-posting the link on their profile. In one day alone I must have deleted over 150 such posts.”

But apparently, the virus with a password-nicking payload mutates by the day and clicking on the image continues to unleash untold misery. Yesterday, a virus variation – “Laden is holding a newspaper with today’s date” – made the rounds on social networks.

Hackers have used Bin Laden’s name before. In 2004, spammers that gave links to photographs of Bin Laden’s “suicide” conned users into opening a file that installed a Trojan which gave the attacker control over a compromised computer. In 2005, a message that purportedly offered TV grabs of Bin Laden’s “capture” contained in a ZIP file actually contained a version of “Psyme”, which steals user names and passwords.

Caution

  • Don’t open a URL address posted by a friend on Facebook that claims to contain a video of Osama Bin Laden being killed
  • Don’t open emails or download software to view such videos even if it’s sent by someone you know
  • Adjust the privacy settings on social networking sites you frequent to make it more difficult for people you know and do not know to post content to your page
  • Keep your anti-virus programme up to date

Post By Gishore J Kallarackal (2,121 Posts)

Gishore J Kallarackal is the founder of techgurulive. The purpose of this site is to share information about free resources that techies can use for reference. You can follow me on the social web, subscribe to the RSS Feed or sign up for the email newsletter for your daily dose of tech tips & tutorials. You can content me via @twitter or e-mail.

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