Swine Flu spam continues to spread with cybercriminals using celebrity names

News by Dan Raywood

Spammers have moved to using celebrity names alongside swine flu terms to spread malicious links.

Spammers have moved to using celebrity names alongside swine flu terms to spread malicious links.


The monthly State of Spam report from Symantec claimed that the top ten subject lines related to this spam campaign used certain keywords including Angelina Jolie, New York, Madonna, America and Salma Hayek.


Subject titles such as ‘Swine flu in Hollywood!' and ‘Be quick! anti-swine flu drugs are almost sold out' have also been used. Symantec claims that health related spam samples have been observed with messages discussing medicines that could be used to fight the flu, with URLs provided to various pharmacy sites.


Other examples of Swine Flu spam have included messages written in Spanish with links to a video that encourages the user to click on the video link stating ‘Below is a video of the symptoms the patient may present, from when it starts up till when he dies. The following pictures are not suitable for everybody and it is recommended to be seen only by persons under their own criteria.'


Symantec's Dermot Harnett, said: “Spam volumes continue to creep back up to normal, and are currently sitting at 94 per cent of their pre-McColo levels. The recent swine flu outbreak has become yet another example of how spam continues to respond to current events.


“The use of the swine flu outbreak in this manner is yet another case of history repeating itself, since it follows closely on the spammer's abuse of the Italian earthquake and the US tax day.




Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Upcoming event 

Webcast: Understanding this year's biggest adversaries - and how to combat them 

Nation-state activity, versatile, slippery strategies and Big Game Hunting - the threats are real, dangerous and ever changing. 
Brought to you in partnership with Crowdstrike