Jackson's death sparks wave of spam

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Los Angeles, CA - Spam scams relating to Michael Jackson's death are spreading like wildfire across the internet.


Within eight hours of the star's death, the first were appearing, with spammers claiming that they have vital information about the death. While the body of these emails don't contain any URL, email address or phone number and the 'from' email address is bogus, the spammer can easily harvest recipients' email addresses via a free live email address if computer users reply to the spam message.


Another scam involves an online campaign asking people to send donations to the Michael Jackson Organization - nothing to do with the star, obviously. Others involve malware purporting to show images and video of the events leading up to Jackson's death, or revealing "the truth" behind the news.


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Yet another asks the public to vote on 'What killed Michael?' - and links to our old friends, the Canadian Viagra salesmen. It contrasts nicely with another - also linking to a Viagra site - which is headlined 'Michael Jackson is not dead'.


"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 security firm Sophos. "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."