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Jackson Acquittal Should Stop "Suicide" Virus

Former CSI Expert Doesn't Rule Out Future Scams

A spam campaign that claims that Michael Jackson has attempted suicide in an attempt to lure innocent computer users into being infected by a Trojan horse should be far less effective now that the King of Pop has been acquitted on all counts, says a former executive with the Computer Security Institute.

The original scam presented the following message, and was first reported by the UK-based security firm Sophos:

An example of the email
The email claims that Michael Jackson has attempted to commit suicide. But clicking on the link will cause infection.

Sophos has identified hundreds of the spam messages being sent, preying on intense media interest in the trial of the controversial popstar. The spam emails have the following characteristics:

Subject: Re: Suicidal aattempt

Message text:
Last night, while in his Neverland Ranch, Michael Jackson has made a suicidal attempt.

They suggest this attempt follows the last claim was made against the king of pop. 46 years old Michael has left pre-suicid note which describes and interpretes some of his sins.

However, when users click on the link they are taken to a website which secretly installs malicious code onto their PCs.

"If you click on the link the website displays a message saying it is too busy, which may not surprise people who think it might contain genuine breaking news about Michael Jackson," said Carole Theriault, security consultant at Sophos. "However, this is a diversionary tactic - because behind the scenes the website is downloading malware onto the user's computer without their knowledge."


MJ, Before All the Fuss

Experts at Sophos have analysed the code downloaded by clicking on the link, and determined that it itself attempts to download another Trojan horse which Sophos detects as Troj/Borobt-Gen. Sophos PureMessage has been updated to detect the spam message automatically at email gateways.

"This should put a stop to this virus generally," said the ex-CSI director, speaking on background. "There will still be a few people who are fooled, though, whether they haven't yet heard the verdict or believe the story in any case. But the big threat will come if any of these virus developers decide to do some follow-up on the story. Michael Jackson's fame will certainly not diminish now that he's  been acquitted."

More Stories By Security News Desk

SYS-CON's Security News desk trawls the world of security for news of software, hardware, products, and services that seems likely to be of interest to infosec professionals and summarizes them for easy assimilation by busy IT managers and staff.

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