No sooner than the unfortunate death of Michael Jackson, security researchers expected an increase in spam that exploits this popular news story to spread malware.
Recent and popular events are like holidays for scammers, they are like vultures when it comes to a exploiting a story that is talked about non-stop via the media and internet. Michael Jackson's death is undoubtedly one of the most popular stories currently and will continue to be for some time. Scammers realize this and they plan on spreading their malicious files and spam messages to unsuspecting computer users while the getting is good.
Many scam messages related to Michael Jackson's death are posed as news alerts from popular networks such as CNN and the Los Angeles Times have been circulating via email lately. These discoveries have been noted by many popular security companies such as Symantec, Trend Micro and Sophos. Some of the messages have appeared to be those that issue a fake flash player update which will install malware while others may include links to malicious sites that could spread malicious files or install rogue applications onto a users system.
A hacker exploiting popular news stores is nothing new. This simple tactic dates back several years. In the recent Michael Jackson death story exploitation, hackers have gone as far as to take advantage of computer users though a bogus "Michael Jackson Organization" message. The fake organization email calls Michael "a true humanitarian" and they attempt to beg for donations to send via western union or money gram. A typical scam where the hackers look for a big payout.
Even though several security researchers and security companies warned computer users to expect an onslaught of Michael Jackson's death related spam messages, users continue to fall victim to the scams. It is no doubt that a computer user will open a message that is titled "Michael Jackson Died from a Drug Overdose." Even though the reason for his death has not been released, many people are anxious to find out. The scammers know this and will stoop as low as they can go to take advantage of the situation.
More than likely you have received some form of an email message related to Michael Jackson's death within the past week or so. Have any of the messages been spam? Did you become infected with malware by opening the spam message and clicking on a link? We want to hear from you.