President Obama said on Wednesday that he will not release post-death photos of Osama Bin Laden. Nevertheless, multiple malware attacks that claim to offer images or video footage of bin Laden's body are spreading across Facebook and elsewhere.
Similar malware hoaxes have been around since at least 2004, but their presence on the web has exploded since the President announced bin Laden's death on Sunday.
Facebook users should be wary of a wall post that reads, "Disturbing Yet Awesome!) [sic]" and includes a photo of bin Laden's face inside a crosshairs. This post contains a link that says, "Bin Laden EXECUTION VIDEO! Yes it's REAL!" and subtext that says, "Commandos attack Bin[sic] Laden's compund [sic] and take him out!" (Screenshot pictured below.)
The Washington Post reports that bin Laden photo and video hoaxes have also turned up in email inboxes.
As the number of people searching for pictures and videos of bin Laden's execution has skyrocketed, the criminal syndicates which perform "black hat" search engine optimization (BHSEO) have exploded as well, creating malware-laden sites and performing all sorts of tricks to get them returned as the first results in search engine results.
The FBI has issued a warning that explains what to look for and how to avoid falling for these scams.
Screenshots of the Facebook hoaxes are below.
BIN LADEN DEATH VIDEO HOAX: BIN LADEN DEATH PICTURES HOAX: