The Miami Herald

Fidel Castro death rumors circulate on Twitter

Rumors about Fidel Castro’s death or that he’s on his deathbed emerge frequently, and the most recent started circulating a few days ago via Twitter, the popular social network.

There were so many messages circulating and coming from all over the world that well-known Cuban dissident and blogger Yoani Sánchez felt that she had to “tweet” saying she didn’t know whether Castro was alive or dead.

“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Everybody is asking me if it’s true that Fidel Castro is very sick,” was part of the message Sánchez wrote on her Twitter account around 3 p.m. Tuesday. “I DON’T KNOW, and if it were true, we Cubans would be the last ones to find out.”

It’s hard to pinpoint where, how and when the message originated. But as a common Web virus, every time the message was forwarded it spread like a cyber infection.

As of Tuesday the rumor reached such a global magnitude, with messages coming and going from country to country, that some news media outlets started to investigate. An Internet site in Argentina blamed a news Web page in Chile as the culprit of the rumor. But the Chilean site said that it didn’t have any information about Castro’s health.

The site Naked Security, which investigates “malware” complaints or viruses sent by users that spread through the Web, said the Chilean site was not responsible but somebody who pretended to be part of the Chilean Web page.

According to Naked Security, the original message emerged early August as an email message with the subject “Fidel Castro is dead,” followed by a picture of him in a casket. Naked Security determined that the message about Castro was fake and linked it to programs designed to disrupt computer systems.

There were two links under the photo inviting the users to see the photo and check a video.

Naked Security warned against opening such message or clicking on any of the links.

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