Osama Shoot down video scam spreads on Facebook

Facebook users are being tempted to click on links to what purports to be a video of Osama bin Laden being shot, in the latest in a series of scams exploiting the hot news story of the Al Qaeda leader’s death.

The messages appear as follows:

Osama shoot down video

Watch the Osama Shoot down video

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Osama Dead - Censored Video Leaked
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Osama is dead, watch this exclusive CNN video which was censored by Obama Administration due to level of violence, a must watch. Leaked by Wikileaks.

Clicking on the link, however, will not instantly show you some sensational footage of US Navy Seals attacking Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.

Instead, you’re told you will have to take an online survey.

Osama shoot down video scam

That should be enough to set your alarm bells ringing – as survey scams are a continuing problem on Facebook, earning scammers commission with every survey they manage to trick users into completing.

What’s most interesting about this scam is that they trick you into cutting-and-pasting a line of JavaScript into your web browser’s address bar.

Not that you’ll realise that you’re doing that, of course. As far as you know all you’re doing is following a sequence of instructions and keyboard presses before you watch the video.

Osama shoot down video scam

But any time you paste a script into your browser’s address bar, you’re effectively running code written by the scammers without the safety net of protection.

Script

Before you know it, you’ll be sharing the news of the “Osama Shoot down video” with all of your Facebook friends, and the scam will be spreading virally.

My guess is that you don’t want to make it so easy for the scammers to run their scripts on your browser – so don’t fall for scams like this.

Be very careful not to be fooled by scams related to Osama bin Laden’s death, not just on Facebook but on other parts of the internet too. Such a big news story always seems to attract the interest of fraudsters and malware authors.

If you want to keep up-to-date on the latest scams, and are a member of Facebook, don’t forget to join the Sophos Facebook page to keep informed about the latest security news.


Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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