Bin Laden Virus Hoax Identified, Targeted

An online security firm warned Saturday that the latest Internet virus was using claims about the death of terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden to trick people into infecting their own computers.

British-based computer security group Sophos.com revealed that statements have also been posted on thousands of Internet message boards offering a link to information about the purported suicide of Osama Bin Laden, leader of the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the world’s most wanted fugitive.

Internet Chat Rooms Spreading Virus

Thousands of rogue messages have been posted on Internet chat rooms in the past few days suggesting journalists have discovered the body of Bin Laden hanged.

The messages urge users to visit a Web site to view photos of Bin Laden, which they claim have been withheld by U.S. authorities while they confirm the identity of the body.

Sophos.com, has published a sample of the posted messages: “Osama Bin Ladin was found hanged by two CNN journalists early Wednesday evening. As evidence they took several photos, some of which I have included here. As yet, this information has not hit the headlines due to Bush wanting confirmation of his identity but the journalists have released some early photos over the Internet.”

E-Mail Links to Trojan Horse Virus

Hackers are also sending e-mails supposedly containing evidence that Osama Bin Laden has committed suicide.

The e-mails direct users to a Web site where a file containing photographs of the alleged suicide can be downloaded. In reality, however, when unsuspecting users click on the link purported to be for downloading photographs of Bin Laden’s body, their computers are infected with a “Trojan horse” virus that gives the perpetrators access to, and control of the victim’s computer.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, stated “Thousands of messages have been posted onto Internet message boards and Usenet newsgroups claiming that journalists from CNN found the al-Qaida leader’s hanged body earlier this year.”

Sophos: Ongoing Virus Attacks

Last week’s ‘Bin Laden’ virus is emblematic of the ongoing wave of criminal acts launched on the Internet by computer hackers.

Cluley also remarked, “Hackers and virus writers will try all kinds of tricks to entice people into downloading their malicious code. It seems this time that the hacker has focused on the public’s morbid curiosity and appetite for news on the war against terror.”

In light of the Bin Laden hoax, security experts are warning anyone with a computer to be sure they have up-to-date anti-virus software to prevent themselves from becoming victims of this latest Trojan, nicknamed “Hackarmy.”

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