- Obama not worried about Ebola at upcoming African summit in D.C.
- Obama: ‘We tortured some folks’ after 9/11
- Obama administration asked whole D.C. Circuit to take on major Obamacare case
- Mark Levin: Topple GOP leadership or country will ‘unravel’
- Massachusetts to let police chief deny gun buys to those deemed unfit
- John Kerry condemns attack on Israeli soldiers, kidnapping
- U.S. starts to evacuate American Ebola patients from West Africa: Report
- Geraldo slammed as ‘dummy’ for backing Clinton’s bin Laden claim
- Israeli spokesman: No need to debate who broke the cease-fire
- 35 Palestinians killed; Israeli officer missing
Hackers use bin Laden’s death as lure for the unwary
Question of the Day
Computer hackers are disseminating spam, viruses and malicious software designed to ensnare the unwary with bogus videos, photos or other digital data about the killing of Osama bin Laden.
The first instances appeared late Sunday within hours of the breaking news, according to a leading computer security firm. Almost all of it had one goal — to direct Internet users to websites that hijack computers to steal passwords or generate more spam advertising.
“Fake links to files purporting to be video of the killing popped up on Facebook in a number of different languages, including English, Spanish and Portuguese,” said Dennis Fisher, a security expert for Kaspersky Lab.
Fake links also were spread via Twitter, which said that users were posting more than 5,000 messages every second at the news event’s peak late Sunday EDT. The links generally promise photos or video of the killing.
Malicious links and software also were spread by e-mail, according to other security experts.
Users who visited the Facebook page purportedly carrying video of bin Laden being shot by Navy SEALs had to click on the video and agree to download special software to view it in order for their computer to become infected.
But malicious Web pages on other, less secure sites can infect the computer of any user who arrives at the page because of flaws in some widely used software packages.
Most of these flaws have been detected and fixed, but many computer users have not updated their software and remain vulnerable. Users are driven to such “crimeware” pages by links in spam email and by a special hackers’ technique known as malicious, or “black hat,” search engine optimization (SEO).
In its “white hat,” or commercially acceptable, manifestation, SEO seeks to get a given Web page the best possible ranking in any search done by Web users.
Search engines such as Google and Bing use special mathematical formulas called algorithms to work out which pages are the most relevant or popular and move them up in the rankings.
SEO techniques seek to maximize the credit that search engine algorithms give to Web pages for things such as links from other sites and keywords.
“Black hat” SEO uses fake links from other malicious or useless sites and pages of nonsense text containing repeated instances of keywords to trick search engines into listing the crimeware pages high in search rankings, increasing the chance that a user unknowingly will click on it.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
TWT Video Picks
By Orrin G. Hatch
Procedural changes impede the chamber's traditional deliberative function
- Border agents cleared of civil rights complaints from illegal immigrant children
- House GOP resurrects border bill, predicts successful Friday vote
- Ben Carson takes major step toward presidential campaign
- U.N. condemns Israel, U.S. for not sharing Iron Dome with Hamas
- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Porn-surfing feds blame boredom, lack of work for misbehavior
- Feds raid S.C. home to seize Land Rover in EPA emission-control crackdown
- Ted Nugent slams 'lying freaks' at liberal media: I'm 'doing God's work'
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Islamic militants seize Benghazi as U.S. evacuates Libya
Top 10 U.S. military helicopters
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors