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News

Malicious web pages exploit death rumours

Sophos : 22 October, 2009  (Technical Article)
Sophos is warning internet users to beware of landing on sites which download malicious code after rumours of Kanye West death stimulate malware writers
IT security and data protection firm Sophos has warned that hackers have created malicious webpages that are designed to entrap people searching the internet for more information about Kanye West's 'death'.

With rumours of Kanye's alleged death in a Los Angeles car crash spreading like wildfire across the likes of Facebook and Twitter, hackers have taken this opportunity to use search engine optimisation (SEO) techniques to ensure that their malicious webpages appear high up on search engine rankings.

Internet users searching for the truth about the rapper's supposed death risk falling victim to these malicious webpages, which will display fake anti-virus alerts designed to scare users into handing over their credit card details.

'This is not the first time we have seen cybercriminals exploiting inaccurate rumours of a celebrity death. The same tactic was used previously for other celebrities such as Harry Potter actress Emma Watson and Tom Cruise,' commented Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

'According to Google Trends, Kanye West's apparent death is the number one search term on the internet at the moment and it is important for users to take caution when visiting pages that aren't well established news sites. Hackers are quicker than ever before at taking advantage of red hot news stories. They know internet users will be searching for further information on the web, and they're waiting to pounce with their scareware attacks,' Cluley added.

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