The BBC is warning internet users that spam emails containing BBC News stories are being used to trick them into visiting malicious websites.

According to the BBC website:

"Cyber criminals are using the messages to exploit a recently discovered flaw in Microsoft's Internet Explorer."

If users click on the link, they are taken to a fake website that installs a piece of software that can monitor online financial activity.

People who receive the emails are advised to not follow the link.

Using global brands like the BBC to lure people to malicious websites is common practice according to Mark Murtagh, technical director of Websense told the BBC.

"We saw a similar approach last year after Hurricane Katrina with emails sending requests for help purportedly from the Red Cross", he told the BBC News website. "We are also already seeing the World Cup brand being used in the same way."

The BBC said is was not the first time the BBC's name has been used by malicious hackers.