Michael Jackson death spurs spam, viruses

Michael Jackson spam and malware appeared minutes after news of his death

Background Blog Processing

Other attackers are getting more creative and setting up phony Michael Jackson-related blogs to try to trick unsuspecting users. Security company Webroot says it's seen such efforts pop on a variety of hosting services, including Google's Blogger platform. The blogs take advantage of background processing to run scripts that can cause serious harm to your system.

"Just visiting [one] page spawned a tornado of background and foreground browser activity -- over 100 URLs, mostly called from ad-host Yieldmanager by an automated script hosted elsewhere, were pulled down in just the first three seconds after the page loaded," says Webroot's Andrew Brandt.

At least one site was found to be installing a virus that effectively locks down your PC, terminating most any application before Windows is able to open it. Programs installing spyware and even the Koobface virus have also been observed.

Staying Safe

The notion of exploiting high-profile news events for spreading spam and malware is nothing new. Security researchers say anytime the public's attention is tuned in to a particular topic, attackers see the potential to move in.

The best line of defense is simply to follow standard Web safety procedures: Delete suspicious-looking e-mails or messages from people whom you don't know; avoid clicking on links in messages if you aren't absolutely sure where they lead; and restrict your surfing to reputable Web sites when it comes to breaking news.

If you use Firefox, you can also install a plugin called NoScript. NoScript blocks JavaScript and Java code from running on any unapproved sites. That could keep you safe from some of the threats lurking behind legit-looking pages.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

JR Raphael

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?