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Scareware scammers exploit Brittany Murphy's death

Cyber footpads poison more interweb searches

Website security in corporate America

Actress Brittany Murphy's sudden death, just like Michael Jackson's untimely demise before her, has quickly been exploited by scareware scammers.

A spike in searches on Murphy's death has been taken as a theme for Black Hat SEO attacks, designed to push sites that have been hacked to redirect surfers to scareware portals into prominence in search engine results.

Windows users who click on links to poisoned search results get exposed to a fake anti-virus scan, designed to frighten users into buying rogue security software of little or no utility.

Net security firm F-Secure, which has a full write-up of the attack here, detects the strain of scareware involved in the attack as Fakevimes-T. More detail on how search results were poisoned can be found in a blog posting be WebSense here.

Murphy, who starred in movies including 8 Mile, Sin City and Spun died on Sunday, 20 December after collapsing at her LA home. She was only 32. The precise cause of death is yet to be determined but an autopsy is planned. ®

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