Hackers are using the popularity of the Apple iPad in a bid to spread malware, says BitDefender.

The security vendor revealed a number of PC users have received emails promising "performance, newer features and security" on the iPad.

The emails also contain a link which claims to let the recipient download the latest version of iTunes to their PC.

However, BitDefender said the malicious link actually re-directs PC owners to a hoax site that infects their machine with malware known as Backdoor.Bifrose.AADY.

The security firm said the malware "opens up a backdoor that allows unauthorised access to and control over the affected system" as well as "logging the passwords to the victim's ICQ, Messenger, POP3 mail accounts, and protected storage".

BitDefender urgered PC owners to only download files from Apple's official website as well as install and regularly update security software. The security firm said the malware only affects PC users

Apple made the iPad available in the US earlier this month but it delayed the UK launch due to "higher than expected demand" in the US.

Initially, the iPad was expected to be launched in Britain at the end of April.

However, two weeks ago Apple said pre-orders will commence on May 10 with deliveries taking place at the end of May.

See also: Apple iPad 2 to get OLED screen?