Michael Jackson's unexpected death last week took the internet by storm, causing many of the news networks to struggle with spotty service. Now the pop star continues to live on -- and not just on the music charts. The latest development has been a rise in Michael Jackson-themed spam and malware.
Security firm Sophos reports that a new email viral attachment is circulating with an email claiming to have details on secret Michael Jackson songs. Users opening the email attachment become infected with the virus. Thus far the emails have been sent with the address "firstname.lastname@example.org" as the reported entry in address line and a subject line "Remembering Michael Jackson".
Symantec and other companies have also picked up on other scams, including some that have links redirecting users to bogus websites, which harvest personal information. The volume of scams and malware is greater than the Fourth of July malware the firm usually sees during this time of year, it reports.
An email claiming to contain a secret "last work of Michael Jackson" as a YouTube video actually infects users' computers with a program that steals their passwords. Another similar email scam claiming to have the "latest unpublished photos" of Michael Jackson also links to a program used to steal users' passwords. Still yet another email, chiefly circulating in Britain purports to be from Tamla Motown founder Barry Gordy and promises readers a chance to win free Michael Jackson CDs.
The first of the scams appeared just hours after Michael Jackson's death, according to Sophos. One of the early scams promised a "breaking news video", instead redirecting readers to a bogus site.
Spammers have long seized on bad news -- from the swine flu to Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 -- as topics of their messages, which typically bear viral payloads or redirect to bogus pages. The tragic death of Michael Jackson has proven no exception. Even in death, the colorful Michael Jackson's continue to live on in many ways -- some of them being malware.