Patrick Swayze’s Death – An Opportunity For Hackers

Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze, as most people are now aware, passed away several days ago, and it hasn’t taken long for cyber crooks to use this to advantage. Cybercriminals have jumped on this information, and are already exploiting this sad event.

Searching for news of Swayze’s death has multiple risks attached, including the risk of landing on an infected web site, which can lead to the downloading of “scareware” – fake security software.

Scareware is now recognized, by security experts, as the single most profitable money maker for cybercriminals, with thousands of users falling victim to scareware scams every day.

Cybercriminals are experts at exploiting our natural curiosity surrounding current events, and by focusing on this aspect of social engineering, they are increasingly creating opportunities designed to drop malicious code, including rootkits, password stealers, Trojan horses, spam bots, and of course scareware, on our computers.

If an event is newsworthy, or it’s titillating in any way, you can be sure cybercriminals are exploiting it for their own advantage. A case in point: Serena Williams’ disgraceful behavior at the US Open, is currently been used by cybercriminals to trap victims into downloading rogueware.

I highly recommend that you watch the following YouTube video (courtesy of Sophos), which illustrates just how easy it is for the bad guys to trap unprepared computer users into downloading rogue software.


Save yourself from being victimized by scareware, or other malware, and review the following actions you can take to protect your Internet connected computer system:

  • When surfing the web – Stop. Think. Click
  • Install an Internet Browser add-on such as WOT (my personal favorite), which provides detailed test results on a site’s safety; protecting you from security threats including spyware, adware, spam, viruses, browser exploits, and online scams.
  • Don’t open unknown email attachments
  • Don’t run programs of unknown origin
  • Disable hidden filename extensions
  • Keep all applications (including your operating system) patched
  • Turn off your computer or disconnect from the network when not in use
  • Disable Java, JavaScript, and ActiveX if possible
  • Disable scripting features in email programs
  • Make regular backups of critical data
  • Make a boot disk in case your computer is damaged or compromised
  • Turn off file and printer sharing on your computer.
  • Install a personal firewall on your computer.
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and ensure it is configured to automatically update when you are connected to the Internet.
  • Ensure the anti-virus software scans all e-mail attachments.

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Filed under Don't Get Scammed, Don't Get Hacked, Malware Advisories, Online Safety, Rogue Software, scareware, System Security, trojans, Viruses, Windows Tips and Tools

4 responses to “Patrick Swayze’s Death – An Opportunity For Hackers

  1. Pingback: Wednesday and A Quick "Must Read" « Tech – for Everyone

  2. Good point Bill these bottom feeders will stoop to anything to make a few cents per machine they can own. Sometimes I think people need a license before they go online. You could write the test!
    Of course it doesn’t keep people with drivers licenses from doing foolish things like texting, eating a sandwich and messing with their radio all at the same time while steering with their knees.

    • Bill Mullins

      Hey Mark,

      These people are the very definition of “scum”.

      Maybe I’ll repost my article on “The Internet Super Highway Are You Licensed to Drive?”


  3. V.E.G.

    So long, Patrick. We wish you well. His remains were cremated per request. Swayze has no direct descendants.