Spammers are using the hype around Madonna’s 50th birthday and looming world tour, which kicks off this weekend, as a lure to malware in a new round of malicious spam messages.
A link to an alleged scandalous video of the star and promises of up to date gossip related to her are used to lure internet users into clicking on the link and inadvertently downloading malicious malware.
However, Sophos warns users that click on the URL expecting a video will instead download a Trojan horse called Troj/FakeVir-EW that displays a bogus security warning encouraging them to purchase a piece of fake anti-virus software.
According to Sophos, it is a common tactic for hackers to exploit excitement around upcoming events but they are continuously altering their emails and malware slightly in order to avoid detection by less sophisticated spam filters.
"With the new world tour just around the corner, it's not surprising that the hackers are trying to capitalise on this. Using topical stories is one of the oldest tricks in the book and the danger is that fans of the material girl will click before they think,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
Once the hackers have fooled innocent internet users into handing over their credit card details, there is no telling if they will use the information for other forms of identity fraud, warned Sophos.
Spammers have used other popular celebrity drawcards including Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and Angelina Jolie in similar attacks in the past.
Sophos experts note that this is the latest attack from the cyber gang responsible for the recent MSNBC and CNN spam campaigns, and demonstrates that the crooks are not going to give up easily.
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