Phishing schemes promising to show bin Laden's death video/photo via Facebook and e-mail have recovered personal user information

Since Osama bin Laden's death earlier this week, many people have tried to use the internet as a search tool for pictures and videos of the slain terrorist leader. But these search attempts have done more harm than good, as computer hackers use the public's interest in the video/photo to spread malicious software. 

Over the past couple of days, the U.S. government has debated whether to release the death photo of Osama bin Laden due to its graphic nature. During this debate, many computer users attempted to find a leaked photo on the internet. But computer hackers, knowing the significance of this event, posted fake links that promise a view of the death photo. However, the links end up directing users to malware. Hackers have made similar attempts during other large events, such as the British royal wedding and the Japanese tsunami.  

Many phishing schemes, which are ways of attempting to acquire sensitive information by posing as a trustworthy entity via electronic communication, have crowded the web as of late. For instance, some Facebook users have received e-mails purportedly from friends that instruct them to cut and paste a line of text that will supposedly reveal bin Laden's death video. When Facebook users follow the instructions, hackers have full access to their account information, and of course, no video is revealed.  

In another phishing attempt, regular e-mails that are full of malicious links promising to expose the death photo are sent to users, and malicious software is downloaded on a PC once the links are opened.  

"They always have something ready to go just in case," said Jeff Moss, chief security officer for the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. "There is always an earthquake or tsunami or hunger or something." 

U.S. President Barack Obama recently announced that bin Laden's death photo will not be released due to the fact that it may spark alarming reactions, and because the photo is gruesome. This will either hinder computer hackers' attempts because the public knows that the picture is not out there, or it will benefit hackers, since some people will be still be curious enough to continue the search. 

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins

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