It seems that not even death is sacred on the internet.
Security researchers’ expectations came true when infections began spreading via email messages sent to users’ inboxes claiming to hold breaking news about Michael Jackson’s death from authoritative websites.
Security companies Symantec, Trend Micro, and Sophos said that the emails are infected with viruses and other malware and deceitfully claim to be from major news corporations such as CNN and the LA Times.
According to the security firms, it was only eight hours after Jackson’s death that the first attack launched.
A clear cut sign you may have opened one is if the messages are written in Portuguese or Spanish.
They will also claim that links will lead to exclusive photos of Michael in the morgue or EMT vehicle and then lead to a popup that claims to be a download for Adobe which is a stealth virus in disguise.
Trend Micro reported the popup actually leads to a download of a bot Trojan that is able to hijack your PC and lay dormant waiting for further instructions from the botnet controller.
Argie Gallego of Trend Micro said that a dead giveaway that you have been led into the trap is if you press the cancel button but the download still continues to process.
After this, your only defence is to find an anti-virus software that can remove the malicious download.
Sophos also warns of a separate fraudulent scam that is not malware, but instead a fake humanitarian cause that encourages naïve people to send money via western union to the “Michael Jackson Organization.”