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Kanye West death prank used to sling scareware

But Beyonce had one of the best hoaxes of all time

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Rumours of the death of rapper Kanye West in a car crash became fodder for fake anti-malware scams on Tuesday.

Users searching for more info on the fictitious fatality are liable to get redirected to sites distributing scareware, security researchers warn. The rumour itself reportedly originated on notorious image board 4chan, the seeding ground for the Anonymous campaign against Scientology.

Bogus reports, claiming West met his maker in a crash involving two luxury cars in Los Angeles, subsequently appeared in email as well as appearing on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. These reports didn't themselves point to malware-infested sites but made the topic of West's supposed demise a trending topic on Twitter and elsewhere.

Unsavoury characters latched onto this to poison search results related to the rapper's fictitious James Dean-style death.

The incident is yet another example of hackers gaming search engine rankings for events in the news to expose the unwary to fake anti-malware scams.

Other recent campaigns along the same lines have hopped aboard the news of the death of Michael Jackson and the recent launch of Google Wave, among many others. It seems almost inevitable that the imminent launch of Windows 7 will also be used to throw out scareware. ®

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