Opportunistic cybercriminals are capitalizing on the death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant earlier this week by setting booby-traps for those searching for mementos of the star. According to a tweet by Microsoft Security Intelligence on Jan. 31, hackers are hiding malicious html code containing a cryptojacking script in desktop wallpaper of the NBA all-time great.

Cryptojacking is a practice whereby cybercriminals hijack processing power from other computers to mine cryptocurrencies remotely. 

Following the tragic helicopter crash which claimed the lives of Byrant, his 13-year old daughter, and seven other occupants, there has been increased interest in the star from both fans and the general public.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it did not take long for cybercriminals to take advantage of this. An increasing number of people searching for information and images of the star is just a fresh crop of potential victims.

The Microsoft team found the malicious html file, Trojan:HTML/Brocoiner.N!lib with its Defender Virus Protection software. The coin mining script was disguised as a desktop wallpaper featuring an image of Bryant. The website hosting the coin miner was blocked by the software.

Reminiscing or cashing in?

As Cointelegraph reported, Bryant’s death brought an outpouring of grief from across social media, including a personal account from Tron founder Justin Sun. Bryant was an avid supporter of crypto, and Tron in particular, having discussed the future of blockchain with Sun on stage at the niTROn conference in 2019.

As a gesture of respect, Sun announced that this year’s niTROn conference would be dedicated to the star. However, given Sun’s prior history of dubious promotional methods, some on social media were quick to criticize this move as a shameless cash-in.