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‘Tabloid’ Spam - Latest Tactic to Spread Computer Worm

According to Microsoft, spam using tabloid headline is the latest method for scam artists to hijack computers.

Till now the scam has been meant only for the Internet and designed to compromise users' PCs and perform offensive acts with it like sending phishing and spam mails to as many addresses as possible. Known as the "tabloid" spam, the e-mail arrives in a news caption.

Moreover, the caption in the mail is phony and clicking on a link activates malware such as a computer worm to compromise a system. Subsequently, the computer is used as a proxy robot to distribute large numbers of other bogus e-mails to more unsuspecting victims, while the criminals behind the worm could carry out various online crimes using the new victims' PCs.

Furthermore, the new tabloid spam is showing bogus captions and exploits gossip mongering and human curiosity. Some examples of captions that many e-mail boxes have received lately and which are too appealing to ignore - "Oil falls below $100 a barrel," "Obama bows out of presidential race," "NFL star killed in bizarre crash" and "Consumer groups sue Apple for fraud."

A few of these captions have the phrase 'breaking news' in capitals letters that make the crafty e-mails appear more real. Even worse, the bogus headlines come prefixed with the names of genuine news agencies like Yahoo and CNN that have possibly helped trick over thousands of users into clicking the malevolent link.

Meanwhile, MSNBC said that the reason behind this massive surge in attacks on people's computers is a 'software removal tool' that Microsoft released in April 2008 to delete the Storm worm. The tool, according to MSNBC, virtually destroyed about 80% of those worms that had infected the users' computers, as reported by fwdailynews on July 27, 2008.

Besides, according to snopes, this software poses problems to standard anti-virus products in recognizing it and therefore, is difficult to clean automatically from any computer. Hence, the most appropriate prevention tool one can be proper judgment whether the link is malicious or legitimate.

Related article: “Loopholes did not cause online banking thefts”: ICBC

» SPAMfighter News - 05-08-2008

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