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Spammers Send Storm Worm To Compromise PCs

Hackers are playing unusual real-time tactics using human tragedy to take control of vulnerable computers. The European storm, which has drawn public interest, is the new bait for spammers to spread a computer virus through junk e-mail. The virus dubbed as "Storm Worm" has attacked and corrupted 10,000 PCs across the world. spammers sent the virus-laden e-mails to hundreds of thousands of addresses having the subject line "230 dead as storm batters Europe."

The spam mail's subject title refers to the January 18, 2007 storm that brought a halt to travel for several thousands of stranded people, shut down electricity and took away life of a minimum 47 people.

The spam mail also has a file attached that carries the malware meant to infect computer systems. As soon as the recipient opens the attachment the virus installs on the computer allowing spammers to gain access of the PC while the victim remains totally unaware of it. The spammers then use the PCs for their nefarious activity of sending more junk e-mail or pass on personal information elsewhere. The attachment has various names like "Full Clip.exe", "Full Story.exe", "Read More.exe" and "Video.exe".

According to Mikko Hypponen, head of research at F-Secure in the company press release, the timely nature of the attack makes it exceptional. He says the attacks had affected thousands of computers globally, mostly consumer PCs. He feels most users will be unable to notice the malware or Trojan, which opens a backdoor on the computer so that the perpetrators can exploit the program to steal data or use the PC as a medium to dispatch spam.

Using natural disasters for pushing large-scale virus attacks has happened in the past as well. In 2005, spammers took advantage of Hurricane Katrina to spread viruses that enabled them to access computer data.

Hypponen has warned computer users to refrain from opening the particular e-mail otherwise it can create a backdoor on the system for the advantage of the virus writers who can do whatever they wish. Typically, they will search hard drive for credit card numbers and e-mail ids to resell them.

Related article: Spammers Continue their Campaigns Successfully

» SPAMfighter News - 1/23/2007

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