Hackers are already capitalising on the death of actor Patrick Swayze with fake web pages claiming to offer information about the actor's death, says Sophos.

According to the security vendor, web users visiting the hoax news sites could be convinced into purchasing and downloading fake anti-virus software, also known as scareware.

"Clearly the cybercriminals are no slackers when it comes to jumping on a trending internet topic, and are more professional than ever before in spreading their fake anti-virus scams," said Graham Cluley from Sophos said in a blog.

The same tactics were employed earlier in the year when actress Natasha Richardson tragically died following a skiing accident.

"The question is - are you being equally expert in keeping your security up-to-date and your wits about you when you surf the net?" added Cluley.

Read about how the CIO of Sophos has reorganised the security vendor