Some of the hottest searches on the Internet at present are for the home video footage of Dawn Brancheau, the Sea World trainer that was killed Wednesday, that purportedly shows the actual attack and killing of the veteran killer whale trainer. Although it is questionable whether or not the actual footage exists, it is known that WFTV in Orlando has video footage of Dawn Brancheau playing with Shamu (in this case, ‘Shamu’ is Tilikum) up until a few minutes before she was pulled into the water and killled. The home video was shot by a vacationing couple from New Hampshire. WFTV also has a link that suggests that it has actual video footage of the the trainer being killed, but the video is unavailable. However, most Internet users aren’t searching for the video on WFTV…
Be that as it may, the searches for the “Dawn Brancheau attack video” or the “Sea World trainer killed video” have led many to the very unpleasant discovery that their computers have contracted a virus. Although many of the links associated with the Sea World trainer’s death video simply takes the user to a site where their computer becomes infected with some type of spyware, a few of the links pull the user onto a site where malware is injected into the user’s computer that crashes the user’s machine.
Add to that the simple fact — adding insult to injury — that there has been as yet no official confirmation that any actual home video of the unfortunate killing of Dawn Brancheau exists.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, told infoZine, “It’s hard to believe that anyone would want to watch video footage of this horrible death, but it’s currently one of the very hottest search terms on the internet. These poisoned pages can appear on the very first page of your search engine’s results, and if you visit the links you may see pop-up warnings telling you about security issues with your computer. These warnings are fake and designed to trick you into downloading dangerous software or handing over your credit card details.”
In short, user beware! If one must search for such a macabre video, one must weigh the very real chance that accessing a particular link just might place one’s computer in harm’s way. At the very most benign, the user might only have to deal with a Web site trying to sell them something.
“You could argue,” Cluley further explained the malware problem, “that anyone hunting for footage of this horrific accident deserves everything that’s coming to them, but the real sick ones here are the hackers who are trying to profit from the death of an innocent woman in a tragic accident.”
In short, using popular search terms is a common trick used by those who would like nothing more than to install spyware onto an unsuspecting computer, not to mention those of a more malignant bent who grant access to viruses that grind one’s computer to a halt.
In July, during the massive Internet interest in all things Erin Andrews and the peephole video scandal, there were reports of the extended accessing of malware.
In August, McAfee named Jessica Biel as the Most Dangerous on their “Most Dangerous Celebrities In Cyberspace” list. According to McAfee, anyone accessing a link to Jessica Biel pictures, ringtones, or videos had a 20 percent chance of coming into contact with some type of malware.
Now it would seem that the macabre searching for a home video with images of Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau being attacked and killed can be added to the list of popular search items that one might want to avoid.
Killer whale kills trainer home video footage available at WFTV.com.