Cyber criminals have reacted in typically speedy fashion to the launch of Google's new social networking service by spamming out fake invitations in an attempt to promote pharmaceutical web sites.
Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley warned web users not to trust the fake emails, which have been crafted to imitate the real messages people may receive from friends who are already signed up to Google+.
"Clicking on the links will not take you to the new social network, but to a pharmacy web site set up to sell the likes of Viagra, Cialis and Levitra to the unwary," he said in a blog post.
"The spammers are no doubt hoping that the email will be too hard to resist for many people eager to see Google's new social network, although just how many will be tempted to buy drugs online is a mystery."
Google+ was launched to great fanfare last week in an effort to claw some market share back from Facebook, after largely unsuccessful attempts in the form of Orkut and Buzz.
The appearance of spam using the newly launched service as a lure is illustrative of the highly motivated, agile and responsive nature of cyber criminals today.
Blackhat search engine optimisation campaigns similarly capitalise on popular news events to trick people into clicking on links.
Cluley warned users to be extremely wary of clicking on such links, especially when they arrive in an unsolicited email.
"The spammers are no doubt hoping that the email will be hard to resist, as many people are eager to see what is being billed as Google's answer to Facebook," he added.