Celebrity Death Scam Floods Inboxes
A recent flood of emails announcing the deaths of Hollywood celebrities and international sports stars have hit the inboxes of Gmail users, all containing an attachment infected with a virus, according to security firm TrendMicro.
The subject of the email is simple. For instance, "Tiger Woods died." The body of the message reads: "Justin Timberlake died along with 34 other people when the Air Force CT-43 'Bobcat' passenger plane carrying the group on a trip crashed into a mountainside while approaching the Dubrovnik airport in Croatia during heavy rain and poor visibility. Please see attachment."
In this latest automated spam attack, the deceased person mentioned in the body of the email never matches the celebrity referred to in the email's subject line. The description of the incident that supposedly killed these celebrities is based on the 1996 death of United States Commerce Secretary Ronald Brown.
And of course, it's the attachment that poses a risk to anyone who opens it.
The attachment comes in two versions. One has a .ZIP file attachment that contains the malicious file news.exe identified as TROJ_DLDER.AU when running an antivirus scan. The second has an .HTML file attachment detected as JS_REDIR.BB from an antivirus scan. It ultimately leads to the download of a malicious file.
The spam targets Windows 2000 and XP users. Computer users are cautioned to delete the email if they receive it.