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Gaddafi death reports likely to spawn multiple scams

'Sirte pics' for dirty clicks

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Early reports that deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi may have died after being injured during the fall of his home town of Sirte are likely to become a theme of cybercrime attacks, if past experience is anything to go by.

The execution of Saddam Hussein in 2005 as well as the supposed capture of Osama Bin Laden later the same year, six years before his actual assassination, were both accompanied by spam emails falsely offering "death pictures" in attachments. The attachments had actually been loaded in malware. Scams along the same lines but featuring supposed images of Gaddafi are almost inevitable.

Other scams likely to rear their head include attempts to poison search results for terms related to Gaddafi's demise so that sites punting scareware scams appear prominently in search results. Such blackhat search engine manipulation attacks also follow in the wake of natural disasters. At least in the case of Gaddafi, fake donation website scams are unlikely to appear and still less likely to pull in any victims.

Fake supposed photo sets of Gaddafi are also likely to appear on Facebook, as a lure designed to con marks into completing time-wasting surveys and perhaps to further trick them into signing up to useless premium rate text messaging services.

Finally, 419 advance fee frauds featuring rewards beyond the dreams of avarice in exchange for help in siphoning Gaddafi's millions out of Libya or from banks in third-party countries are another possibility.

Let's be careful out there. ®

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