Online scammers target event which brought high traffic to social media sites
The Internet, from news sites to social networking sites to malware, is buzzing with messages about the end of Osama bin Laden.
People have turned to the Web to know about the event in a massive scale. Sites like Facebook and Twitter have seen record participation of people across the world, who used various tools offered by the new media to access, blog, tweet and share the news.
Google Trends has ranked "osama bin laden dead" at the highest level for trending topics, while over 261,075 Facebook users "liked" the "Osama Bin Laden is DEAD" page by Monday.
The wave began with President Barack Obama’s address to the nation from the White House late Sunday night at 10 pm EDT.
The CNN reported that Obama would speak, but it took another 45 minutes to connect the news to bin Laden.
Meanwhile, at 10:25, Keith Urbahn, the chief of staff for former Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld tweeted: "So I’m told by a reputable person that they have killed Osama bin Laden. Hot damn."
Twitter, which usually witnesses 500 tweets-per-second, said that it witnessed its highest sustained rate of tweets, with an average of 3,440 tweets-per-second from 10:45 pm to 12:30 am EST. At 11 pm EST, the numbers hit 5,106.
There were over 27,000,000 tweets in two hours and 35 minutes.
"Last night saw the highest sustained rate of Tweets ever," Twitter announced in a tweet.
"From 10:45 – 2:20am ET, there was an average of 3,000 Tweets per second."
The micro-blogging site also became a part of live reporting of the event as an user in Pakistan, near the place where the operation to kill bin Laden was being carried out, started tweeting about it unknowingly.
33-year-old Sohaib Athar, who is a computer programmer, tweeted the event live from Abbottabad, Pakistan, as @ReallyVirtual after being startled by a helicopter hovering nearby.
Even the Al-Qaeda has reportedly used the Internet to officially accept its leader’s killing.
However, scammers were the ones who looked to benefit from the massive attention drawn by the news on the Internet. They placed fake news stories to direct unsuspecting people to malware-infected websites.
Among the search results being targeted by scammers are: "Osama Bin Laden Dead", "Al Qaeda", "Navy Seals" and "Obama Address".
Security experts have warned that there could be over 100 million spam emails could be expected within the next 24 hours.