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News

Malicious attachment in fake Dalai Lama e-mail

Sophos : 28 September, 2007  (Technical Article)
Burmese demonstrations exploited by hackers using fake e-mail message from the Dalai Lama
Taking advantage of international concern regarding the daily demonstrations in Burma, IT security and control firm Sophos has cautioned computer users to be wary of a malicious email which claims to be a message of support for monks and other protesters in Burma from the Dalai Lama. In reality, however, it carries a malicious attack designed to infect the recipient's PC.

The email reads as follows:.

'Dear Friends & Colleagues, Please find enclosed a massage from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in support of the recent pro democracy demonstrations taking place in Burma. This is for your information and can be distributed as you see fit.

Best wishes.

Tenzin Taklha
Joint Secretary
Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama'


When users open the attached document (filename: hhdl burma_001.doc), it attempts to exploit a Word vulnerability which in turn tries to download a Trojan horse onto the victim's PC. Sophos proactively detects the malicious document as Exp/1Table-B and the Trojan it tries to download as Agent-CGU.

Sophos experts note that to add even more credibility to the message and to encourage a greater number of victims to open the attachment, a link to official website of the Dalai Lama is included.

'The Burmese regime is said to have tried to control news coming out of the country by shutting down internet cafes and controlling computer users' access to the net. People around the world are hungry to hear about the latest situation in the country and support the pro-democracy movement, and may be tempted to read this so-called letter from the Dalai Lama,' said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. 'Using topical news stories to trick unwary computer users into opening and downloading malicious code is one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it's obviously still working or the hackers wouldn't waste their time on it. We should all use our common sense and question the legitimacy of emails sent out of the blue.'

Sophos recommends that companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can control network access and defend against the threats of spam, hackers, spyware and viruses.

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