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Bogus Jackson suicide bid claim used to spread malware

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A spam campaign that claims Michael Jackson has attempted suicide is being used to lure surfers into infecting their PCs with a Trojan horse.

The malicious junk mail messages prey on the intense media interest in the trial of the controversial popstar. Typical subject lines of the messages state: "Re: Suicidal aattempt" and feature message text such as "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. Read more..."

Users who click on the link visit a maliciously constructed website that attempts to exploit well-known Windows vulnerabilities to install a Trojan called Borobt-Gen onto surfer's 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 for Sophos. "However, this is a diversionary tactic - because behind the scenes the website is downloading malware onto the user's computer without their knowledge."

It's neither the first time interest in Jackson has been exploited by virus writers nor the use of topical events have been exploited to spread Trojan horse malware. In October 2004, messages were posted on the internet claiming that incriminating home videos belonging to Jackson had been found. The supposed link to more information was in fact a gateway to infection by the Hackarmy Trojan horse. ®

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