The death of actor Patrick Swayze has kicked off a new round of spam runs, according to security experts.
Researchers at F-Secure reported spotting spam messages on the subject just hours after news of Swayze's death from pancreatic cancer first broke.
The attacks are said to use the tactic of search engine optimisation, loading web pages with references to the actor's name in the hope of obtaining a higher ranking in search engine results.
When someone runs a search on Swayze and ends up at the spam page, a pop-up informs the user of a malware 'infection' and then displays an image mimicking the Windows security screen.
Users who are duped by the false security alerts will then find their systems infected with a rogue anti-virus tool as well as a simple PHP script that logs the user's country and city location. Researchers believe that the information is being gathered for traffic analysis.
The use of current events in spam runs has become a popular tactic for cyber criminals in recent years. The promise of video and photos of hot news topics is often used to dupe users into allowing the installation of malware, adware and phoney security tools.
Most recently, cyber criminals took advantage of the anniversary of the 2001 September 11 terrorist attacks to spread malware.
Additionally, spammers and malware distributors have increasingly made use of search engine optimisation techniques to make attack sites more vulnerable and effective for bringing in victims.
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