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Celebrity Deaths and What to Expect in Cyberspace

Created: 26 Jun 2009 23:12:31 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:34:35 GMT
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This week has seen the tragic deaths of three iconic American super stars: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett, and Michael Jackson. As always, events such as these seem to be prime targets for spammers and malicious code authors alike.

Internet users should expect to see a flurry of threats seeking to play upon the emotions and curiosity of the public around these events. If you’re looking for news, videos, pictures, or any information regarding these individuals and their lives, Symantec recommends that you only visit sites you’re familiar with and trust. Don’t click on every link you see related to this story and always keep your security solutions up-to-date.

For example, Symantec has observed spam that appears to be a spoof on CNN that actually contains a link to a malicious Web page.





Users that click on the link will be redirected to a page that prompts users to download and run a file on a fake Flash Player, which actually installs malicious code.





Here are some of the additional spam and online tactics Symantec does expect to see as attackers seek to further take advantage of these tragedies:

·         Spam with subject lines related to any of these deaths trying to peddle fake medicines

·         Spam with subject lines related to any of these deaths leading to misleading applications, such as fake antivirus software

·         Spam with subject lines related to any of these deaths leading to fake codecs

·         Spam with subject lines related to any of these deaths with malware attached

·         Search engine poisoning campaigns injecting malicious sites into the top search engine results related to any of these deaths

·         Sites claiming to host videos of the last moments of these individuals lives, but actually peddling fake goods or malware

·         Links to fake videos of these stars that actually attempt to infect users with malware

·         Social networking site messages related to these deaths that could link to malware such as W32.Koobface

·         Twitter tweets about these deaths with links to all sorts of malicious Web sites

Perhaps Michael Jackson is one popular figure that even the scammers won’t seek to abuse. Only time will tell whether the bad guys are bigger fans of the “King of Pop” or money.