Fact Check

Osama bin Laden Video Virus

Information about the 'Osama Captured/Hanged' computer virus warnings.

Published Aug. 1, 2004


Virus:   "Osama bin Laden Captured" / "Osama bin Laden Hanged" / "Osama bin Laden Killed"



[Collected via e-mail, 2004]

Hey, Just got this from CNN, Osama Bin Laden has been captured! A video and some pictures have been released. Go to the link below for pictures, I will update the page with the video as soon as I can.

[Collected via e-mail, 2004]

Osama Found Hanged

Osama Bin Ladin was found hanged by two CNN journalists early Wedensday evening.

As evidence they took several photos, some of which i have included here.

As yet, this information has not hit the headlines due to Bush wanting confirmation of his identity but the journalists have released some early photos over the internet..

[Collected via e-mail, 2005]

Turn on your TV.
Osama Bin Laden has been captured.

While CNN has no pictures at this point of time, the military channel (PPV) released some pictures.
I managed to capture a couple of these pictures off my TV.
Ive attached a slideshow containing all the pictures I managed to capture.
I apologize for the low quality, its the best I could do at this point of time.
Hopefully CNN will have pictures and a video soon.

God bless the USA!

[Collected via e-mail, May 2011]

WARNING: there is a video circulating around Facebook of a BBC video of the killing of Osama Bin Laden, supposedly made by US troops. It is a Virus!!!!! Spread the news because it's circulating fast!!!!


Variations:   In mid-2006 the "Osama" virus warnings were combined with the text of the (hoax) "Invitation" virus warning.

Origins:   There were few headlines guaranteed to grab the attention of more computer users around the world than news of Osama bin Laden's having been captured or killed, so that's exactly the bait pranksters have used more than once in attempting to lure

unsuspecting victims users of Microsoft Windows platforms into installing malicious code onto their computers.

In July 2004 a message claiming to offer links to photographs of Osama Bin Laden's suicide was spammed to multiple newsgroups. The links actually tricked users into opening a file that installed the Backdoor.Hacarmy.D trojan horse.

In June 2005, similarly-themed e-mail message claimed to offer images of the capture and arrest of Osama bin Laden scanned from news videos and collected in an attached ZIP file, but the attachment actually harbored a version of the Psyme Trojan.

Both trojans were easily detected and removed with updated virus protection software, and neither Osama message is circulating widely or poses much of a threat to PC users any more.

The wake of Osama bin Laden's actual killing by U.S. forces in May 2011 spawned a number of messages purporting to include or link to news stories, pictures or videos of a dead Osama bin Laden which were vectors for transmission of malware. Scammers have also been using the "search engine poisoning" technique, purporting to offer bin Laden-related material on web sites in an effort to trick search engines into listing web pages loaded with malware in their search results. The FBI warned computer users to:

Exercise caution when they receive e-mails that purport to show photos or videos of Usama bin Laden's recent death. This content could be a virus that could damage your computer. This malicious software, or "malware," can embed itself in computers and spread to users' contact lists, thereby infecting the systems of associates, friends, and family members. These viruses are often programmed to steal your personally identifiable information.

Last updated:   4 May 2011


    BBC News.   "Bin Laden 'Suicide' Virus on Net."

    24 July 2004.

    BBC News.   "Fake Bin Laden E-Mail Hides Virus."

    3 June 2005.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.