D'oh! Spammers Exploit Interest in The Simpsons Movie

Springfield's favorite family used by cyber-criminals trying to confirm e-mail addresses are live.

A new spam campaign exploiting interest in "The Simpsons Movie" has been discovered. The spammed e-mails claim that recipients will receive a $500 Visa Gift card for participating in an online survey. Each e-mail contains a graphic of Homer Simpson sitting on his sofa. 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 e-mail address.

"You would be as crazy as Krusty the Clown to enter an e-mail 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 delivering a valid e-mail address to a spammer on a platter. Lists of living breathing e-mail 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 e-mail."

Experts note that this is far from the first time that cybercriminals have exploited Hollywood movie characters.

"Last month Sophos discovered a worm that infected USB drives claiming that in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" the eponymous teen wizard would die, and in May, we saw a threat spammed out that pretended to be a trailer for the latest "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie," continued Cluley. "The public's hunger for new blockbuster movies coming out of Hollywood gives cyber-criminals an endless stream of riches with which to tempt the unwary. Too many people click on links in an unsolicited e-mail without thinking of the possible consequences."