The Simpsons used by cybercriminals to harvest email addresses

Sophos is reminding computer users of the importance of not responding to unsolicited email surveys following the discovery of a spam campaign that is exploiting interest in “The Simpsons Movie”, due to be released in cinemas later this month.

The spammed messages claim that recipients will receive a $500 Visa gift card for participating in an online survey. Each email contains a graphic of Homer Simpson sitting on his sofa wearing a Superman crop-top and y-fronts. The image asks:

‘Will you go see the movie The Simpsons? Take our short survey now’

Clicking on the image takes surfers to a web page branded with similar graphics of The Simpsons, which asks for a valid email address.

“You would be as crazy as Krusty the Clown to enter an email address on that page,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Not only are your chances of receiving a gift less than zero, but you are also delivering a valid email address to a spammer on a platter. Lists of living breathing email addresses are what keeps the spam industry afloat – by confirming your contact address you are helping the spammers and increasing your chances of being deluged by junk email.”

Sophos experts note that this is far from the first time that cybercriminals have exploited Hollywood movie characters. Last month Sophos discovered the Hairy-A worm which infected USB drives claiming that in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” the eponymous teen wizard would die. In May, the Yar-A Trojan horse was spammed out pretending to be a trailer for the latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.

“The public’s hunger for new blockbuster movies coming out of Hollywood gives cybercriminals an endless stream of riches with which to tempt the unwary,” continued Cluley. “Too many people click on links in an unsolicited email without thinking of the possible consequences.”

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