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Windows 7 and Balloon Boy Latest Headlines for Spam

According to security researchers at McAfee, spammers and phishing fraudsters are still exploiting popular topics searched for on the Web for disseminating their malicious software.

McAfee security researchers along with other security companies' experts said that if these search topics appeared within any subject line, then it was most probably spam sent by spammers to distribute harmful software (malware).

During the 3rd week of October 2009, McAfee Labs stated that the two stories of the week, namely "Balloon Boy" and the release of Microsoft Windows 7 operating system, were the most frequently used keywords for malware distributors on search engines.

Dave Marcus, Director of Security Research and Communications, McAfee Labs, said - spam mails related to 'Balloon Boy' leads users to Canadian pharmacies websites, which are hosted on Chinese domains, as reported by Internetnews on October 22, 2009.

Indeed, spammers and phishers seem to have stuck by using Balloon Boy as bait for marketing pharmaceuticals. The actual story of Falcon Heene along with the balloon that escaped and the subsequent probable fraud generated so much news that baits involving them could hardly be ignored by spammers and other cyber criminals.

With so much of curiosity created by the news, McAfee blogged on its trustedsource.org on October 22, 2009 that netizens should be wary of ordinary topics like "Boy-balloon madness," "Balloon boy died," "Balloon kid's full story," and "Little boy trapped in balloon," as they all ended up with the 'Balloon Boy'-centered campaign for spam.

Moreover, phishers and spammers have been capitalizing on significant news events and celebrities for spreading their malware for past few months. For instance - during September 2009, while the catastrophic wildfires of California caused a great amount of compassion it also produced huge quantities of malware. Similar situation arose after Michael Jackson unexpected demise.

Hence, security experts advise that users should refrain from clicking on web-links leading to unfamiliar sites. Marcus asked Web-surfers to be watchful of breaking new stories and related links as they were often spammers' lures to trap users.

Related article: Windows XP Fault Strike Firewall

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