Tuesday, 03 May 2011 11:17

Sophos: Beware the Osama bin Laden scams

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Still getting over the Royal Wedding? Still shooting rifles into the air in celebration of the death of Osama bin Laden?  Well don't get too caught up in the euphoria says security firm Sophos.  Scammers are out to take advantage of those big news stories with email and Facebook viral videos.

Security firm Sophos is warning people to be aware of online scammers who may exploit the death of Osama bin Laden.

Already a link which claims to point to a shocking video of the death of bin Laden is spreading virally across Facebook just hours after his death was announced.  The messages, posted as updates on Facebook users' walls, claim to point to banned video footage of bin Laden's death.  But instead of a shocking video, users are presented with a survey which gives scammers money every time it is completed.

Paul Ducklin, Head of Technology in Sophos Asia Pacific, advises computer users to watch out for scams related to bin Laden's death not just on Facebook but on other parts of the internet too.

"Watch out for the links you're likely to come across in email or on social networking sites offering you additional coverage of this newsworthy event. Many of the links will be perfectly legitimate but at least some are almost certain to be dodgy and will trick you into hostile internet territory."

To keep safe from online scams, Sophos offers the following tips:

* Don't blindly trust links you see online, whether in emails, on social networking sites, or from searches. If the URL and the subject matter don't tie up in some obvious way, give it a miss.

* If you go to a site expecting to see information on a specific topic but get redirected somewhere unexpected - to a "click here for a free security scan" page, for instance, or to a survey site, or to a "download this codec program to view the video" dialog - then get out of there at once.  Don't click any further as it is a scam.

*  Use an endpoint security product which offers some sort of web filtering so you get early warning of poisoned content. (Sophos Endpoint Security and Control and the Sophos Web Appliance are two examples.)

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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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