Beware Malware In Osama Bin Laden Death Photos.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW. DO NOT SCROLL DOWN IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE
Every SEO company understands the death of Osama Bin Laden has triggered a very natural reaction on the internet, thousands of searches by people looking for information on exactly what was going on and what had happened. This is the usual case when a major news story breaks, and is expected and planned for by “black hat” seo experts looking to push viruses and malware into mass distribution through unsuspecting clickthroughs. This game has been going on for years, through manipulation of false news stories or through images that when clicked lead to a virus website. When an incident like this one has taken place, black hat seo’s understand that everything is in place for a virus attack. Here is why, and what you can do about it to protect yourself….
People who are trying to push spyware or malware into your computer need you to do a single action, they need you to click on something. Without the click, it is nearly impossible for them to infect your computer. Think of it like the old movies where the homeowner must invite the vampire into their home or he has no power. Without the invite, they cannot come inside and harm you….the click is the invite. In this recent case, black hat seo’s understand that people are searching by the millions for graphics, in this case people wanted to see pictures of the attack scene or or Osama Bin Laden’s body. This natural curiosity opens a window for the bad people, because innocent people looking for information begin randomly clicking on things without thinking about it. In this case, they are clicking on fake photos of a dead Osama Bin Laden….photos that have been specially prepared to lure you in and make you click on them in order to take you to a website that will infect your computer. The pictures are prepared and optimized to be presented by Google in the “Images” section when you search for something like “Osama Bin Laden body” or another search phrase of this type.
The Google images results are strewn with optimized results that will be presented in this type of search. Google itself is not a news source, all they do is present images that the algorithm finds that have the proper optimization elements for this search. The images in this case are prepared with correct “ALT” tag text, and are given enough “wrap text” on the subject and enough inbound links related to the subject to cause Google to present them in the visual search results. GOOGLE CANNOT TELL IF THESE IMAGES ARE FROM GOOD SOURCES OR MALICIOUS SOURCES. The reason being that Google can only make that determination once multiple complaints have been filed and reviewed. The black hat seo’s stay ahead of Google by setting up new domains that are clean, then waiting for a story to break. The massive amount of search traffic happens so fast that the website does damage before being flagged. It is then simply moved to another clean url and the process starts over.
In the “Bin Laden Image” case what is happening is that fake images are prepared as bait to get you to click on them. When you click on the images the user will be redirected to one of the malicious domains:
Both domains are offering a copy of the rogueware known as “Best Antivirus 2011”
This rogueware has been identified by multiple sources as containing the trojan:
It is important to be careful when clicking on images because it is difficult to tell what sources are good or bad. One way to protect yourself is to use common sense and only click on images that are housed on websites that you recognize as actual news sources like CNN or MSNBC. The way to see if the url looks suspicious or not is to mouse over the image without clicking it. This will enlarge the image slightly and show the corresponding url where the image is located. If it looks like a strange url, or something that you do not recognize as a news source, avoid clickg on it, no matter how intriguing looking the image is:
Yet another thing to keep in mind is not to let the technology of the day lure you into making poor decisions about protecting yourself. Yes, this story broke on Twitter before it was revealed on television. This gives people the idea that someone out there has images to post long before the true news sources have them. In this particular case, the photo that has been fooling the most people online is a fake photoshopped image of a dead Bin Laden that has actually been around for years. The poorly photoshopped photo combines two images that were circulated online, one of Osama Bin Laden giving a speach and one of a man dead. When combined you get the final image, which has been known to be fake for years. The graphic nature of the photograph lures people in to clicking on it when it is presented today, due to the breaking news. It sure looks real, but it isn’t and you are opening yourself up to virus attacks by clicking on it.
The US government has issued a statement that no photographs of Bin Laden’s body have been released. There are none in circulation at this point.
UPDATE: Potential leaked death photo of Osama Bin Laden has begun circulating. Photo is very graphic and bloody, so forgive us if this offends you. We only repost it here to assure your computer safety when viewing it.