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News

Fictional disaster used to lure victims into downloading Trojan

Sophos : 12 September, 2008  (Technical Article)
Spammed claims of nuclear catastrophe in Canada used in the latest spam campaign to attract readers into downloading malicious code warns Sophos
IT security and control firm Sophos has discovered a widespread spam campaign that claims that a powerful explosion occurred at a nuclear power station located in the suburbs of London on the afternoon of the 9th September.

Samples intercepted by SophosLabs reveal that the emails claim to contain images in an attachment called victims.zip. In fact, clicking on the attachment will not open any pictures of the supposed explosion but will instead run a Trojan horse detected by Sophos as Troj/Agent-HQE. Once installed, the hackers can use the malware to spy on the victim's computer and steal information for financial gain.

'Rather than use a real life event, the hackers have turned to fictional explosions and conspiracy theories in the hope they will strike a nerve with potential victims who will then click on the attachment without a second thought,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 'All computer users need to show some common sense and delete these messages. It would be some media conspiracy to cover up such a large explosion for two days! Alarm bells should be sounding, but until everyone wakes up to these social engineering tactics, the cybercriminals will continue to use them.'

The emails arrive in the potential victim's inbox with the subject line: 'Reply: A report on radiation contamination of Canada,'.

Sophos customers have been protected against the malware since 21.50 on 10th September. Sophos recommends all computer users ensure their anti-virus protection is up to date, and run a consolidated solution at the email gateway to defend against viruses and spam.
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