Barack Obama may be officially unveiled as the 44th President of the Unites States of America today, but against the spirit of goodwill, spammers have used the global excitement to catch out thousands of people.

Thousands of spam emails have been sent containing links to false breaking news stories such as 'Barack Obama refused to be president of the USA', and malware makers are cashing in on those eager to find out more. Symantec's Threat Intelligence team have been tracking the widespread implications of the event.

New threat

"A new threat, W32.waledac, uses classic social engineering techniques to get unsuspecting users to click on hyperlinks contained within emails that lead to another site filled with malicious links," warns Symantec.

"Although W32.waledac is not a high-risk threat, users may be quick to click on a link to get to the fake breaking news, forgetting about potential hazards."

It's not the first time that spam of this type and major events have crossed paths – the problem also occurred over the Christmas period.