Cyber experts said Thursday that people shouldn’t click on online news stories or advertising banners claiming that actress Angelina Jolie has committed suicide.
The assertion is false, and some of those stories and ads contain ransomware — a type of malicious software that enables hackers to encrypt people’s computer files and freeze the computer screen.
Ransomware is distributed by hackers who pressure victims into paying a ransom in exchange for having their computers returned to normal operations.
Analysts also said some of the false Jolie stories are linking people to tech-support centers that try to extort money from the public.
Victims of the Jolie scheme likely “will see an alert pop up that says their computer has been infected and that information has been stolen. If you hear about a salacious story, go to Google and check on it. Or go to CNN to see what they’re saying,” said Stephen Cobb, a senior research at the San Diego office of ESET, a digital security company.