Osama bin Laden's death key topic on Internet

A Twitter user unknowingly live blogged signs of the attack, and cybercrooks are riding the news to spread malware

The announcement late Sunday of the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has set the Internet abuzz, as users searched for information and shared their thoughts on the killing of one of the world's most wanted men.

In a late-night appearance at the White House, U.S. President Barack Obama said that bin Laden had been killed in a U.S. operation in Pakistan on Sunday.

An IT consultant in Abottabad, the town where bin Laden was killed, inadvertently "live blogged" an early sign of the military operation on Twitter, without realizing its importance until much later.

Sohaib Athar, who uses the id @ReallyVirtual on Twitter, wrote "Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)," followed shortly after by "A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S."

He now has over 14,000 followers on the micro-blogging site. He moved to Abottabad from Lahore for some "peace and quiet," he said.

[Read more: Bin Laden's death drives Internet traffic spike.]

The events will provide an opportunity for malicious websites to infect computers by tricking users into visiting their sites for more information, warned security experts.

Cybercrooks can trick the search-ranking algorithms of popular search engines by feeding them fake pages to make their sites seem legitimate, increasing the chances that Internet users searching for news land on a site dispensing malware, warned Paul Ducklin, head of technology at IT security firm Sophos, in a post on the company's web site.

Athar himself seemed aware of the risks, joking in another Twitter message: "It is a good thing my blog server is infected with malware today, I guess :-/"

Fabio Assolini, an expert at IT security company Kaspersky Lab, already had examples of malware-laced pages cropping up in response to a Google image search for "osama bin laden body." Users clicking on some of the images in the results are redirected to one of two malicious domains offering a copy of the rogueware known as "Best Antivirus 2011", Assolini said in a blog posting.

Twitter reported that its site carried more than 4,000 messages per second at the beginning and end of Obama's speech. The death of bin Laden, Abottabad, and Navy Seal, the special operations force that killed bin Laden, were among the top topics being discussed on Twitter a couple of hours after Obama's announcement.

Google Trends also reported that "osama bin laden dead" was the hottest search on May 1 in the U.S., followed by some other search items that are related to the death of bin Laden.

On Facebook, a page "Osama Bin Laden is DEAD" had 258,400 people who "liked" the page, many of whom commented on bin Laden's death. The page appears to have been set up before the death of bin Laden was announced, and subscribes to the theory that bin Laden was already dead a long time ago.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Osama Bin LadenInternet-based applications and servicesonline safetysecurityscamssocial mediainternetsearch enginesmalwareantivirus

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?