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updated 5/14/2012 3:22:02 PM ET 2012-05-14T19:22:02

The May 4 death of Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch sent a wave of sadness and shock through the music community, but while the world still mourns the loss of the talented and prolific musician and activist, soulless cybercriminals have begun capitalizing on the tragedy for their own selfish and illegal gains.

Trend Micro researchers  detected a cybercrime campaign that has been spreading since last week, attempting to lure unsuspecting recipients into downloading what they believe is a news story about Yauch's involvement with the International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), a nonprofit that promotes freedom for Tibetans.

The emails appear to be from the ICT, and show a picture of Yauch with the Dalai Lama beneath a title that reads, "ICT mourns the passing of Adam Yauch." Embedded in the message is a link to a Microsoft Word document that supposedly includes the ICT's complete reaction to Yauch's untimely death.

As the ICT's legitimate website explains, Yauch, also known by his stage name "MCA," was an ICT board member and advocate; as a founding member of The Milarepa Fund, Yauch put on the 1996 Tibetan Freedom Concert to raise money and awareness of the Tibetan movement to gain independence from Chinese rule.

So there's an air of authenticity to this scam, but don't let it fool you: The attached Word document, Trend Micro discovered, is a Trojan file  that, immediately upon opening, attempts to connect to URLs in order to download malicious files onto your computer before deleting itself.

The take-home message is that even — or especially — in the wake of tragedy, cybercriminals often go to work to prey on the public's curiosity and interest. Keep yourself safe by avoiding suspicious websites, and don't download any attachments unless you're sure they are legitimate. And always run  strong ant-virus software  on your computer to help keep threats like these at bay.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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