In 2009, the deaths of Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, Patrick Swayze and other celebrities were all exploited by spammers, phishers and scammers alike. Fake video clips of funerals, the concert Michael Jackson was working on when he died, or other 'exclusive' content were used to trick users into downloading malware. Fake antivirus attacks were also added to the mix. And while Michael Jackson's death may have had global appeal, events around regional celebrities were also leveraged in targeted attacks.
The most successful attacks of 2009, as in previous years, required a successful social engineering component at one stage of the attack or another. For instance, fake antivirus scams exploit common security fears, while fake code malware teases individuals to the point where they lack the patience to really think about what they are being asked to do.
In addition, death, disaster and drama have become hugely effective vehicles for spreading malware. These tactics are explored in more detail below.
As part of a comprehensive review of 2009, Blue Coat Systems has compiled this list of the most common (and successful) bait and scams the bad guys are using to install malware on unsuspecting users' systems and steal personal information.
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