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Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
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1/25/2010
06:40 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
Security Insights
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Johnny Depp Death Crash Video Launches Malware Attack

An Internet rumor that Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp has died in a French car crash is being taken advantage of by cybercriminals, who have planted malware posing as video footage of the accident.

An Internet rumor that Hollywood superstar Johnny Depp has died in a French car crash is being taken advantage of by cybercriminals, who have planted malware posing as video footage of the accident.The bogus story, which has been repeated across the Internet and is the subject of many postings on social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, claims:

"Johnny Depp's car was found along side a road outside Bordeaux, France, with the guard rail embedded deep inside the car. A tourist was driving down the road when he saw a car wreck alongside the road. He stepped out and tried to see if anyone was in there while his wife dialed the police for help. To his dismay, he found the a body in the car among liquor bottles. The police arrived at the scene shortly after and pulled out the body of the former actor, Johnny Depp."

In truth, the rumor appears to have started as a sick prank on a Website, posing as a CNN news report.

However, the story's dodgy source hasn't stopped others from repeating it, and -- sadly -- hackers have taken advantage of what is currently one of the most commonly searched-for topics on the Internet.

Watch this video to find out more:

Curious Internet users who search for information about Depp can find themselves on a Web page which claims to contain video evidence of his death.

The site, however, tries to trick you into downloading an ActiveX codec for your browser, infecting your Windows computer with a Trojan horse called Troj/Dldr-DB.

More details of this attack can be found on my blog on the Sophos website.

Johnny Depp is not the first celebrity to have had their bogus death exploited by hackers. In the past, Harry Potter actress Emma Watson and rapper Kanye West have both had fake stories distributed claiming that they died in car crashes, and actor Tom Cruise has has been the subject of false claims that he fell off a cliff while filming.

Graham Cluley is senior technology consultant at Sophos, and has been working in the computer security field since the early 1990s. When he's not updating his award-winning other blog on the Sophos website, you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley. Special to Dark Reading.

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