IT security and control firm Sophos is warning users to be wary
of spam messages using the untimely death of music legend Michael
Jackson to harvest unsuspecting computer users' email addresses for
future spam campaigns.
Approximately eight hours after the King of Pop'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 messages, the spammer claims that they have vital
information about the death of Michael Jackson to share with
somebody - ie. the user. Sophos experts 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 the King of Pop, Michael Jackson, has
sent shockwaves through the entire world - but unfortunately, this
type of huge news story is also the perfect vehicle for spammers to
snare vulnerable computer users," said Graham Cluley, senior
technology consultant at Sophos. "These spammers are relying on
curious users to reply to their bogus claims - but if you receive
one of these messages you just need to delete it."
"We've also discovered cybcercriminals taking advantage of the
sad death of 70s TV icon Farrah Fawcett to spread fake anti-virus
software, so users should certainly remain vigilant. The fact
is that cybercriminals have no respect for taste and decency. The
only thing they are interested in is making some money for
themselves, and turning other computer users' lives into a