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updated 6/5/2012 1:19:25 PM ET 2012-06-05T17:19:25

Swap Adderall for Adele, Cialis for Cee Lo, Ketamine for Kanye and Boniva for Bon Iver and you're on the way to understanding the new tune online spammers are singing in an effort to woo their way into your wallet.

Traditionally trafficking in discount pharmaceuticals, spam networks have begun selling pirated music instead, including such popular Top 40 artists as Adele, Kings of Leon, Lady Gaga, U2 and The Black Eyed Peas, according to Webroot  researcher Dancho Danchev.

The songs, sold for as little as 11 cents each, are just part of the larger cybercrime repertoire, however. The affiliate network that hosts the stolen songs and albums makes its money by promising high-traffic websites a cut of the profit, as well as an array of helpful website-operating features, including search engine optimization and blackhat SEO, a cybercrime tool  also known as "poisoned SEO," which tricks search engines to rank their (often malicious) links at the top of the results page of any topic.

This shift in focus keeps both the spammers and their partners happy, while fueling a thriving cybercrime underground with a fresh way to make money.

"Thanks to the mature monetization methods offered by affiliate networks, they still remain one of the key driving forces behind the growth of the cybercrime ecosystem in general," Danchev said.

If you receive spam emails offering cheap MP3s, delete them and don't follow links to the Web pages promising the songs. There is no guarantee the pirated MP3s are safe and not rigged to infect your computer. Download music from a legitimate MP3 source, and, whether its music or games or gift cards, do not trust any offers you receive in unsolicited emails.

© 2012 SecurityNewsDaily. All rights reserved

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