Jackson death sparks-off spam storm Sophos reports

Email inboxes have been hit by waves of spam messages using the death of music legend Michael Jackson to harvest unsuspecting computer users' email addresses for future spam campaigns, IT security firm Sophos is warning.

Approximately eight hours after Jackson’s death yesterday, SophosLabs witnessed the first wave of spam messages taking advantage of the breaking news in the subject line and body of the email. In these, the spammer claims that they have vital information about the death of Michael Jackson to share with somebody – i.e., the recipient.

Sophos analysts note that the body of the email does not contain any call-to-action links – such as a URL, email address or phone number - and the 'from’ email address is bogus, however the spammer can easily harvest recipients' email addresses via a free live email address if computer users reply to the spam message.

“The untimely death of Michael Jackson has sent shockwaves through the world – but unfortunately, this type of massive news story is also perfect for spammers to snare vulnerable computer users,” says Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley. “These spammers rely on curious users to reply to their bogus claims.”

“We've also discovered cybcercriminals taking advantage of the sad death of Farrah Fawcett to spread fake anti-virus software, so users should certainly remain vigilant,” Cluley adds.

More information:
www.sophos.com/blogs/sophoslabs/v/post/5035

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