Spam and mass-mailing viruses, long known for stifling the productive use of e-mail systems, are threatening to put a damper on people's lifestyles. Internet security experts have over the past two months noted the emergence of e-mails purporting to sell Apple Computer's popular iPod MP3 players, as well as malicious programs that steal usernames and passwords from players of online role-playing games. Clearswift, a United States and Britain-based security software supplier that also tracks unsolicited e-mail from 20 million users worldwide, warned e-mail users to prepare for 'an onslaught of lifestyle junk mail' as spammers pitch more trendy items to consumers. The supplier said 'style-savvy spammers' in December started releasing junk e-mails claiming to sell limited-edition or heavily discounted iPods. The month before, the spammers focused on Rolex watches. More Mac-inspired spam is expected, following Apple's release of its new iMac Mini and iPod Shuffle. An Apple spokesman in Hong Kong said the company had not received any local iPod scam complaints but was monitoring the situation. Roy Ko Wai-tak, manager of the government-funded Hong Kong Computer Emergency Response Team Co-operation Centre, said Chinese-language spam was offering consumer electronic products such as digital cameras. Since organised crime syndicates started moving operations online, spam has been used for a variety of financial scams and as a black market for illegal goods such as fake pharmaceuticals and counterfeit software. Clearswift warned that scams were becoming more convincing, with e-mails purporting to come from Amazon and eBay. Alyn Hockey, director of research at Clearswift, said spammers had become better at 'cloning company websites and legitimate marketing mail', even using official shipping receipts. Virus experts at security software maker Sophos said a new Trojan horse program, dubbed Troj/LegMir-Y, had been found to steal user names and passwords from players of the multiplayer internet role-playing game Lineage. The game is played over the internet and has millions of subscribers around the globe, many of them in South Korea, which has a large broadband infrastructure. A Trojan horse is a virus disguised as a benign program, such as a game or a program purportedly for destroying a virus, but one which carries a hidden payload that could include spyware and other tools used to take control of a machine by a third party. Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for London-based Sophos, said the Legmir-Y Trojan also attempted to turn off anti-virus software and security-related applications, leaving the door open for future hacker attacks. Outwar and Legend of Mir 2 are among other popular multiplayer online games whose players have been targeted in the past.