Symantec reports that hackers are using bogus stories of celebrities' deaths to build out the Zeus botnet.
Computerworld reports that the spam contains messages about celebrities dying in a plane crash or being killed in car accidents. A .zip file is attached to the messages. The article explains:
If the recipient opened the archive file and then launched the resulting executable, her machine was hijacked by the Zeus Trojan and added to the growing botnet.
Earlier this year, a new Zeus toolkit was released that promises new capabilities for strengthening the botnet. Marc Fossi, the director of Symantec's security response team, offers this thought:
A newer version of the kit was released in the last while, [and] that could mean the price of the original dropped, allowing more people to get into the scene.