Spammers have used the media hype surrounding the launch of Apple's iPhone to trick email users into visiting a malware hosting website, a security software company has warned.

Secure Computing has advised users to be wary of messages claiming that the recipient has won an Apple iPhone. The message urges the user to visit a website to receive their prize. But the site hosts 10 forms of malicious code that attempts to install on to the user’s computer via the web browser. The website redirects visitors to another legitimate site in an effort to thwart security analysts.

“This yet again confirms the expanding trend in web-based malware,” said Paul Henry, vice president of technology evangelism for Secure Computing. “This threat is particularly insidious in that it contains exploit code for multiple vulnerabilities to improve the hacker’s chances of installing the malware. Because of the popularity of the iPhone this is the first in what is bound to be a series of scams.”

Apple has sold up to 525,000 iPhones in the first weekend since the device was launched in the US last week. The phone is due to be unveiled in Europe later this year.