Security experts have warned of a spam campaign designed to harvest email addresses by attracting readers to websites offering topical video tributes.
The sites feature a range of teasers offering video tributes to 9/11 victims, celebrities and crocodile hunter Steve Irwin, who was killed on 4 September.
"Websites like this are preying on public interest in news stories like the death of Steve Irwin and the troubled life of Anna Nicole Smith in their attempt to collect email addresses," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
The sites' privacy policies give the owners the right to 'send you personalised marketing information via electronic delivery', 'send you targeted advertising', and to 'sell and/or license the personal information that you provide ... to third party businesses' including 'providers of direct marketing services and applications'.
Users are asked to fill in their email address to view the videos in their entirety or to send the tribute to friends by entering their details.
"The message is simple: don't stitch up your friends by dishing out their email addresses no matter how keen you think they might be," said Cluley.
Sophos explained that users should always think carefully before giving any personal data to a website, especially if they found the site thanks to a spam email.
"If you really can't resist, then be sure to read the small print," said Cluley. "Your personal information is valuable, so be wary of giving companies the right to collect it and then to dispose of it however they want."
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