Johnny Depp is not dead – but you might be infected

The fake news of the death of one of the most popular actors of today has been used by hackers to infect you with Trojans.

According to Sophos’ Graham Cluley, the rumor spread like wildfire through the Internet, fueled by a flurry of Twitter messages that made it a trending topic. Using Google to find out more about the issue led to websites spreading the fake news – have a look at the second search result:

Looks like CNN covered it, so it must be true. Or is it? Look again – at the actual URL below.

This is a lesson that we all should learn, and learn fast: check the actual URL. Roll over the link with the mouse and see where it will take you. Of course, fraudsters can and do use shortened URLs to take care of that problem, but that’s another story for another time. Where you can, you should check the link before clicking on it.

The link in question leads to a CNN look-alike page that does a good job at tricking people:

Scroll down a little, and the rest of the story has nothing to do with Johnny Depp. There are other tell-tale signs that this, in fact, is not the CNN website, but at first glance it looks legitimate.

Lucky for you, this website doesn’t lead to malware. It seems it was made just for creating more buzz around the topic, and get you interested enough to search for things like the a video on the topic:

Clicking on that link will take you to a series of sites. The last one claims to have the video, only you can’t watch it because you don’t have the needed version of Video ActiveX codec.

You are, of course, offered a link for downloading it. And if you do, and execute the file, I’m afraid you just became an involuntary owner of a Trojan.

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