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Spammers exploiting more news stories

(Lance Whitney, CNET News) "Bomb Blast." "Jackson is still alive: proof." "Obama cursed by Pope." These are just a few of the subjects used by cybercriminals last year to trick people into opening malware-infected e-mails.

Spam that uses the latest news headlines was just one of the hot trends last year in the world of cybercrime, according to McAfee's "Q4 Threats Report", released Tuesday. The latest threat assessment also noted a rise in "hacktivism," or politically motivated cyberattacks.

Though spam levels in the fourth quarter actually dropped by 24% from the third quarter, the daily volume of junk mail around the world still averaged 135.5 billion per day. To reach that level, spammers relied heavily on news stories, especially tragedies.

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