Brittany Murphy Dies & Scareware Scammers Strike

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It seems to be a trend now, whenever someone famous dies some kind of malware or phishing scam will pop up playing on their death with the usual social engineering aspect.

The most memorable one recently of course was the passing of The King of Pop – Michael Jackson

The latest one is Brittany Murphy who passed away last Sunday, search results lead users to fake anti-virus products labeled as ‘scareware’ tactics.

Actress Brittany Murphy’s sudden death, just like Michael Jackson’s untimely demise before her, has quickly been exploited by scareware scammers.

A spike in searches on Murphy’s death has been taken as a theme for Black Hat SEO attacks, designed to push sites that have been hacked to redirect surfers to scareware portals into prominence in search engine results.

Windows users who click on links to poisoned search results get exposed to a fake anti-virus scan, designed to frighten users into buying rogue security software of little or no utility.

They have to act fast of course to get their results ranking at the top during the aftermath of a celebrity death.

For most tech-savvy users I don’t think it would be much of an issue, but for the average joe it seems they are fairly gullible when it comes to promises of anti-viral solutions.

Net security firm F-Secure, which has a full write-up of the attack here, detects the strain of scareware involved in the attack as Fakevimes-T. More detail on how search results were poisoned can be found in a blog posting be WebSense here.

Murphy, who starred in movies including 8 Mile, Sin City and Spun died on Sunday, 20 December after collapsing at her LA home. She was only 32. The precise cause of death is yet to be determined but an autopsy is planned. ®

It’s a sad event nevertheless and I hope the news doesn’t come out that yet another celebrity died from a drug overdose.

It has been rumoured that Brittany Murphy used drugs due to intense Hollywood pressure to maintain her slim stature.

Oh well, Merry Christmas indeed!

Source: The Register


Posted in: Malware, Social Engineering, Spammers & Scammers

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2 Responses to Brittany Murphy Dies & Scareware Scammers Strike

  1. unknown December 22, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    the amount of adds you are putting on your posts in not ok your website just dropped in my rankings

  2. Darknet December 22, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    The amount of ads I put in posts has been exactly the same since the first post in February 2006 until now. No more and no less.