Watch Out For World War III Spam, Say Security Experts

By Matthew Harwood

Hackers have created a new ruse to infect Internet users' computers with malware, reports Australia's spam e-mails reporting that the United States has just invaded Iran.

The fraudulent e-mails were discovered by Sophos, an anti-virus and anti-spam security firm, last week. Here's what to look out for, :

Widely spammed out emails with subject lines including "Third World War has begun", "20000 US Soldiers in Iran", and "US Army crossed Iran's borders" have been intercepted by Sophos. The emails contain links to a malicious webpage that displays what appears to be a video player showing the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion with the following text beneath:

"Just now US Army's Delta Force and US Air Force have invaded Iran. Approximately 20000 soldiers crossed the border into Iran and broke down the Iran's Army resistance. The video made by US soldier was made today morning. Click on the video to see the first minutes of the beginning of World War III. God save us".

However, SophosLabs™ experts warn that users visiting the webpage and clicking on the 'video player' run the risk of being infected by a Trojan horse, designed to compromise their computer. Sophos detects the malware hiding behind the fake video as Troj/Tibs-UO and a malicious JavaScript hidden on the website as Mal/ObfJS-AY.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said these e-mails are evidence that hackers are starting to exploit people's hunger for instant news, especially those who have loved ones in the Middle East. Opening and reading the e-mails presents no risk, he said, but clicking on the link and trying to watch the video could give hackers access to the computer where they could steal personal information.

"Everyone should ensure they keep their anti-virus protection up-to-date and never follow links in unsolicited email messages" to avoid falling prey to such scams, said Cluley.



View Recent News (by day)


Beyond Print

SM Online

See all the latest links and resources that supplement the current issue of Security Management magazine.