As the news of the unfortunate demise of the pop star – Michael Jackson broke out, millions and millions of people world over swamped the Internet to verify Michael Jackson’s death. The Internet suffered slowdowns and MJ news on the web became an easy way for cybercriminals to spread malware.
Volcanic Spike on Google Search
Google saw a huge search volume increase at around 2:00pm (PDT), which skyrocketed by 3:00pm (PDT), and later stabilized by about 8:00pm (PDT).
Here is a chart from Google showing the meteoric rise in related searches around 3:00pm (PDT):
Those who did not have access to the Internet, apparently checked the breaking news from their mobile phones. This led to the largest mobile search spikes ever seen, with 5 of the top 20 searches about the Moonwalker.
The Malware Alert
Because of the huge volcanic spike, Google news mistook it for an automated attack, and for about 25 minutes yesterday, people searching Google News were greeted with an error page before finding the articles they were looking for.
It warned users “your query looks similar to automated requests from a computer virus or spyware application”.
Here’s a screenshot of the malware alert message:
This page asked the users to enter a “Captcha” code in order to continue their searches.
Michael Jackson was pronounced dead at the UCLA medical centre. Jackson’s brother, Jermaine, said he was believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest.
The news of MJ’s death has shaken millions of his fans around the world. In spite of all the controversies that surrounded him, Jackson was indeed a legendary entertainer in the world of music. May his soul rest in peace.
(Source & Image Credits: Google blog)