Cybercriminals have already taken advantage of the whirlwind of excitement surrounding the birth Prince of Cambridge, warned internet security experts today.
Malicious emails promise the latest video news - but instead deliver Trojan software into PCs, including one known to steal online banking information.
Yahoo! News has seen one example of a spam email titled ‘The Royal Baby: Live Updates’ and purporting to lead to live CNN video coverage of the birth.
“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have welcomed their first baby — a son and a future heir to the British throne — into the world. CNN has all the latest details of this momentous occasion,” the email says.
The email claims to come from a company called ScribbleLive, a popular media marketing service.
Clicking any of the links in the email prompted users to upgrade their Flash player plugin, but in fact downloaded a Trojan known to be used to steal personal details, including online banking information.
Security expert Graham Cluley said, “ It’s very likely that we will see more of this kind of attack. There are several common tricks hackers use – it could be asking you for a username and password to see photos of the baby, or making you complete an innocuous-looking survey.”
Social networks are another fertile ground for hackers to sow dangerous material. At the time of the announcement of the birth, 23,500 tweets mentioning the Royal baby were sent per minute.
“People should be careful what they’re clicking on Facebook and Twitter,” said Cluley.
“Links can be automatically generated to include the trending hashtags. There are also a lot of joke pictures doing the rounds – if you get into the habit of clicking on them as soon as they’re posted, you’re less likely to be careful about where they come from.”
This is not the first time that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have been used by hackers to spread viruses.
When their engagement was first announced, hackers were quick to hijack the most popular search engine image results – with the result that clicking on an apparently innocent picture of the couple led to a warning message asking users to download fake antivirus software, which was in fact malware designed to take over PCs and steal data.
In 2011, a story posted on Aol.co.uk about a ‘Pregnant Kate Middleton’ children’s doll was found to have been infected by hackers. Visiting the page would attempt to run malicious software in the background without users’ knowledge.