Fake Twitter rumours spread of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's death

Filed Under: Social networks, Spam, Twitter

Hosni MubarakHosni Mubarak, the disgraced former president of Egypt, may be seriously ill in jail, but - at the time of writing - he isn't dead.

If you had turned to Twitter earlier today, however, you might have been fooled into believing that Mubarak - who is serving a life sentence - had died, after some users were apparently duped by a bogus Twitter account.

One of the accounts which spread the news of Mubarak's alleged death (fortunately they did say "unconfirmed") was the foreign desk of the British Sunday Times newspaper:

Sunday Times passes on unconfirmed reports of Mubarak's death

The reports of Mubark's alleged death appear to have emerged from a Twitter account claiming to belong to Egyptian Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim.

Bogus Twitter account

INTERIOR MINISTRY OF ARAB REPUBLIC OF EGYPT CONFIRMS THAT FORMER PRESIDENT MUBARAK DIES TODAY. MORE DETAILS LATER.

However, the Twitter account had only been created an hour before the announcement of the "death", calling into question its authenticity.

The bogus Twitter account had only been created an hour before

As with the previously announced "deaths" of Margaret Thatcher and Mikhail Gorbachev and even 1980s pop star Adam Ant, there isn't any truth in the story.

Fortunately the Sunday Times, was quick to post a correction. But others are still perpetuating the false news of Mubarak's death.

NBC's Richard Engel actually went to the effort of confirming with the Egyptian Interior Ministry that it was not responsible for the tweet:

For those who are following the story, the latest news from AP is that Mubarak's condition has stablised, and that his heart and blood pressure are being monitored. Although he hasn't passed away, he is clearly not a well man.

Those of us who are interested in computer security know all too well the importance of not believing everything we read, not rushing to click on a link nor open an attachment without thinking about the possible consequences. Maybe some Twitter users could learn that lesson too.

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One Response to Fake Twitter rumours spread of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's death

  1. Jim Storky · 776 days ago

    how is a fake Twitter feed *anyway* related to AV?

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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.