London riots in the cyberworld

We’ve told you time and again that today’s news becomes tomorrow’s scam. This is how Kirsten Miranda of WBTV started her report on scammers using London riots for their own gain. “It usually starts with an email or a Facebook or other social networking post. Someone on your list of friends or in your email address book says they’re stuck in London and want to get home but they can’t afford the plane ticket.  Other similar emails indicate somehow that person wound up in jail and doesn’t have the bail money to get out.” So with London being in the spotlight again, “londoning” is once more finding good victim opportunities, made all the easier with hacked social media accounts and cybercriminals being handed people’s friends lists on a platter.


Internet and Social media were apparently an integral part of the riots. As in several cases of instigating them, as well as being one of the main sources of news and information. TNW reports that “While both the BBC and Sky News have gotten major traffic increases, it’s the story of Twitter that’s probably the most interesting. In the search for real-time news, visits to Twitter dwarfed any other visit from the UK.”

Sadly though Twitter has also been used as a tool for starting riots, which could then define this as cybercrime (as cybercrime is any crime that uses computers or internet as tool or target, in short). And UK Police responded. “Twitter users could face arrest for inciting violence in the wake of two nights of unrest in London, a Scotland Yard chief warned today.” was reported by The Telegraph.

Nicole Ferraro wrote in Internet Evolution article Social Media Make Their Mark in London Riots that “while many are discussing technology’s role in assembling rioters, the tool being talked about as the most successful is not Twitter this time, but BlackBerry Messenger — suggesting that the aggressors are looking to communicate under the radar.” So, it comes as no surprise that BlackBerry blog was hacked after London riots, as written about on Cyber Crimes Unit.

As always in such cases, we will keep monitoring the additional buzz around the news story for spam, scams and malware infections and will let you know about them.


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