Osama bin Laden death video scam spreads virally on Facebook

Filed Under: Facebook, Social networks, Spam

A link which claims to point to a video of the death of Osama bin Laden has been spread virally across Facebook today, just hours after the death of the Al Qaeda leader.

The messages, posed as updates on Facebook users' walls, claim to point to banned video footage of Osama bin Laden's death:

Osama bin Laden

SHOCKING NEW video of OSAMA BIN LADENS DEATH!!
Exclusive BANNED VDEIO footage of Osama Bin Laden being killed!!!

(In the screenshots used throughout this article we have obscured the image as some may find it disturbing).

Clicking on the link takes you to a Facebook page which urges you to like and share the link with your Facebook friends, before you can watch the "shocking" footage:

Osama bin Laden scam on Facebook

However, sharing the link with others just helps spread it further across the social network, and instead of a shocking video you are instead presented with an all-too-familiar survey which you are told you must complete before you can go any further.

Osama bin Laden survey scam

The scammers earn money every time a survey is completed, and that's why they want you to share the link with others.

Sophos is advising computer users to watch out for 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.

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29 Responses to Osama bin Laden death video scam spreads virally on Facebook

  1. Natonstan · 1269 days ago

    Seen this on a few of my friends walls, thought it seemed a bit fishy as I had seen the fake image of him bloodied up earlier so decided to do a quick google search on the matter and came across this article, I have linked it in a status, hopefully some of the weaker minded folks see it.

  2. kort · 1269 days ago

    This is ridiculous we dont need to see his body..all we need to know is that he is gone..god bless america and to all the victims families of 9/11..i hope sunday May 1, 2011 gave closure and justice to not only the world but to those who it affected and had the biggest impact on !!

    • you · 1268 days ago

      So you beleive it just like that?? you been fooled once and this is the 2nd time... Ha ha how lost you are....

    • briter · 1268 days ago

      of course we need to see body. i don't beleive it til i see it. even when my grandma died i needed to see it to beleive it.

    • brunohale · 1268 days ago

      We do need to see a body. Your missing the whole point of the fact that people NEED to see actual evidence of the body, otherwise most people will simply dismiss it as hearsay or as a conspiracy cover up. This "closure and justice" you so aptly refer to is not going to take effect for the majority of people until a sufficient video is actually produced. It's like someone saying "the sky is falling" and expecting everyone to believe it. Unless one had actual proof nobody would believe it now would they...would you???

  3. Remove the posts from your wall, and make sure that you no longer have it listed as a "Like" in your profile.

    • miguel · 1268 days ago

      New to FB. How do you remove posts and unlist it as a "like"?

      Is there a way to notify the "friends" to whom this scam may have been inadvertently sent without having to write to each individual?

      • To remove posts on your wall:

        Go to your wall, roll your mouse over the post, an 'X' appears in the top right of the post, click on that 'X', and you should be able to hide the post or mark it as spam.

        To remove the "Like":

        Go to "Edit my profile"

        Choose "Activities and interests"

        Click on "Show other pages"

        Choose which one you want to delete as a Like.

  4. Brian · 1269 days ago

    Good thing my Verizion network blocked the link. I put out warning to all my friends.

    • Gabby · 1268 days ago

      Same for me! I thought facebook was having some issues, but I looked it up and found this website. I told everyone to avoid it! They have another video about a girl doing something and her dad walking in. :/

  5. Hrh Mortimer · 1268 days ago

    It's a shame we can't get the Navy Seals to take out these spammers.

  6. Tara · 1268 days ago

    I heard about this on my facebook. Part of me wants to see proof because who knows Obama might make it up to make himself look better. When Sadam was killed the video was every where that same day. This video/pics are being kept hush hush. Why? We have a right to know for sure that the one man who hates us most is dead!!!

  7. markidgconnect · 1268 days ago

    Just goes to show how the thirst for 'justice' can lure seemingly normal people to depraved visual 'proof' of somone's demise. The virus spreaders obviously knew this all too well.

    Mark at IDG Connect

  8. ChromeFail · 1268 days ago

    I have fail at the interwebs.

    I pasted the link in my address bar, thinking I would grab the IP address from, and do a WHOIS just to be slick. I completely forgot that Chrome tries to 'preload' anything you type in the address bar... Just be careful...

    Any idea how to ensure you have stopped sending this crap?

  9. angry kitten · 1268 days ago

    them survey things should be banned

  10. ok so stupid me clicked on the video and now im scared of getting a virus... what should i do?

  11. I wish Facebook would stop these annoying surveys and scam groups!

  12. Walther Olafsen · 1268 days ago

    Sad so many people are so inexperienced and clumsy in this world...

  13. Footso · 1268 days ago

    I was taken in, like a fool, but I got a sniff of a conspiracy theory, and realised my mistake a few moments too late. I have attempted to delete the post, but there is no "x" alongside, to delete. Any other actions that can / should be taken?

  14. Ken · 1267 days ago

    No need to see the body! Bin Laden's wife, wounded in the raid, has already said it was him!

  15. infected · 1267 days ago

    My son tried to run it ... now we have a virus. It's one of those things that sends a multitude of popups claiming that the computer is infected and the only way to fix it is to buy their antivirus program, also is messing with the search links. It disabled my own antivirus but I started in safe mode and am running a scan now, am hoping that it will detect and remove it.

  16. What Virus# · 1267 days ago

    Thank's for pointing this out..
    this is a good warning for my friends.
    i knew it was fake, i don't click on most apps from Facebook. Unless i'm on my Ipad, therefore no virus, and i can identify its fake quicker

  17. jep · 1267 days ago

    I'm soooo glad I don't have Facebook or Twitter or any of that other social networking crap. My PC is too precious to me to risk it crashing for some fake videos and pictures.

  18. MIguel · 1266 days ago

    Is there a way to notify your "friends" to whom you may have inadvertently "sent" this to?

    There appears to be yet another viral scam circulating. This one suggesting that you can see who has been visiting your FB site.

    • Dale · 1266 days ago

      I personally went to every one of my friends and deleted the post my self, after warning everyone it was a virus. Took a long time, but, while doing so i noticed I had friends from France, belgium, Phillipeans, and Pakistan I did not know. Bumped thirty friends yesterday. Don't know if it was this virus or not that gave them to me. Look at your friends.

  19. gridknight · 1266 days ago

    I opened an email from who I thought was my daughter and it hit everyone of my facebook contacts. Had to manually block the post for each friend not mention clean my computer. Also altered my search engine to ask.com.

  20. Ken Davey · 1264 days ago

    This is interesting. I received this on my wall and, being certain it was a hoax, commented to the poster that it was a hoax and probably a scam.

    In posting the comment, the link executed taking me to another page that showed a video of a fire fight but obviously not of the raid on OBL. I quickly closed the ink.

    At no point was I asked to 'like' the page, take a survey and the redirected page did not attempt to install any cookies. However Firefox page redirection intercept did not activate.

    However after closing the page quickly and refreshing my FB page, my wall showed that the link had been shared by me and 'liked'. This is a level of control that I had not encountered on FB before, but a scan with Virus Barrier has shown no malware was installed.

    Very odd.

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.