In recent days there’s been a flurry of emails with the subject “[some
celebrity name] died”.
Each message has a different celebrity name, and each includes an attachment
to find out more information.
Sadly people believe or want to believe this stuff.
And therein lies the problem.
That’s an image of the emails as filtered by GMail in to a spam folder.
Good on GMail.
However, I’m hearing reports of people without good spam filters receiving dozens of these messages, each referencing a different celebrity.
If they’re all dying then at that rate we’re about to face a severe celebrity shortage.
Here’s the body of the message:
[celebrity name] died along with 34 other people when the Air Force CT-43 “Bobcat” passenger plane carrying the group on a trip crashed into a mountainside while approaching the Dubrovnik airport in Croatia during heavy rain and poor visibility.
Please see attachment
What’s funny, of course, is that the celebrity name in the subject line never seems to match the celebrity name in the body. Whoops. Sounds like a bug in the spam-generating program. (Though the English, while not perfect, is above average for spam.)
That’s exactly what this is, by the way: an automated program – perhaps a botnet – that’s sending out massive amounts of this particular message, varying the names to try and get your attention and interest. The goal is to get you curious enough to open the attachment.
Open that attachment and your machine is infected with a virus, plain and simple.
To be extra clear: don’t do it!
Delete the mail. Ignore the mail. Don’t open the attachment.
If you want to check up on your favorite celebrities, go visit a legitimate news site instead.