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Jacko suicide spam infects pop fans

Virus writers have started using public interest in the Michael Jackson trial to try and fool users into executing malware on their personal computers, according to anti-virus firm Sophos.Sophos is reporting that a recent spam campaign distributed e-mails purporting to contain breaking news about a suicide attempt by pop superstar Michael Jackson at his ranch in California.

Virus writers have started using public interest in the Michael Jackson trial to try and fool users into executing malware on their personal computers, according to anti-virus firm Sophos.

Sophos is reporting that a recent spam campaign distributed e-mails purporting to contain breaking news about a suicide attempt by pop superstar Michael Jackson at his ranch in California.

According to Carole Theriault, security consultant at Sophos, malware writers often exploit celebrity names and current affairs to try and dupe users into clicking on malicious Web links and opening dangerous attachments.

"The sick minds behind viruses and other malware often exploit celebrity names in an attempt to infect as many people as possible... If you click on the link the Web site displays a message saying it is too busy... However, this is a diversionary tactic... behind the scenes the Web site is downloading malware onto the user's computer without their knowledge," said Theriault.

In the past, virus authors have used a diverse range of 'celebrities'to try and infect users. They have included Julia Roberts, David Beckham and even Osama Bin Laden.