Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Perimeter

Guest Blog // Selected Security Content Provided By Sophos
What's This?
10/21/2009
06:00 AM
Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
Security Insights
50%
50%

Kanye West Car Crash Hoax Fuels Hacker Scareware Attack

An Internet rumor that controversial rapper Kanye West has died in a Los Angeles car crash is being taken advantage of by cybercriminals, bent on stealing money through fake antivirus alerts.

An Internet rumor that controversial rapper Kanye West has died in a Los Angeles car crash is being taken advantage of by cybercriminals, bent on stealing money through fake antivirus alerts.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, says that there was a:

"bizarre car crash in Los Angeles involving two luxury cars early this morning rapper Kanye West dead, a second injured, a third arrested for gross vehicular manslaughter and a fourth person was detained by police."

(You can read the full hoax in my blog entry on the Sophos Website).

In truth, the rumor appears to have started as a prank on the 4Chan Website.

However, the story's dubious provenance hasn't prevented others from repeating it, and -- sadly -- hackers from taking advantage of what is currently one of the most commonly searched-for topics on the Internet.

Kanye West Died search trend stats

Using the familiar trick of poisoning search results through SEO techniques, hackers are directing users to malicious Web pages designed to display fake antivirus warnings and scare users into making unwise purchases.

Poisoned webpage rides high in search rankings

Scareware, rogueware, fake antivirus -- call it what you like. It's one of the biggest growth areas in cybercrime right now. The bad guys are taking advantage of users' fear of computer infection and identity theft, hacking Web sites to display bogus warnings that are designed to fool you and your colleagues into making bad decisions that could impact your company's data and your own wallet.

By the way, this isn't the first time Kanye West has caught the attention of cybercriminals. For instance, earlier this year it came to light that his Gmail, MySpace, and Twitter accounts had been broken into.

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 other blog on the Sophos website, you can find him on Twitter at @gcluley. Special to Dark Reading.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Microsoft Patches Wormable RCE Vulns in Remote Desktop Services
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  8/13/2019
The Mainframe Is Seeing a Resurgence. Is Security Keeping Pace?
Ray Overby, Co-Founder & President at Key Resources, Inc.,  8/15/2019
GitHub Named in Capital One Breach Lawsuit
Dark Reading Staff 8/14/2019
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
7 Threats & Disruptive Forces Changing the Face of Cybersecurity
This Dark Reading Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at the biggest emerging threats and disruptive forces that are changing the face of cybersecurity today.
Flash Poll
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
The State of IT Operations and Cybersecurity Operations
Your enterprise's cyber risk may depend upon the relationship between the IT team and the security team. Heres some insight on what's working and what isn't in the data center.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2019-15239
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
In the Linux kernel, a certain net/ipv4/tcp_output.c change, which was properly incorporated into 4.16.12, was incorrectly backported to the earlier longterm kernels, introducing a new vulnerability that was potentially more severe than the issue that was intended to be fixed by backporting. Specifi...
CVE-2019-15227
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
FlightPath 4.8.3 has XSS in the Content, Edit urgent message, and Users sections of the Admin Console. This could lead to cookie stealing and other malicious actions.
CVE-2019-15237
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
Roundcube Webmail through 1.3.9 mishandles Punycode xn-- domain names, leading to homograph attacks.
CVE-2019-15228
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
FUEL CMS 1.4.4 has XSS in the Create Blocks section of the Admin console. This could lead to cookie stealing and other malicious actions. This vulnerability can be exploited with an authenticated account but can also impact unauthenticated visitors.
CVE-2019-15229
PUBLISHED: 2019-08-20
FUEL CMS 1.4.4 has CSRF in the blocks/create/ Create Blocks section of the Admin console. This could lead to an attacker tricking the administrator into executing arbitrary code via a specially crafted HTML page.