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Fake Spam Mail Announces Australian PM’s Heart Attack

Different kinds of e-mails span across the Internet. While some like those reporting Britney Spears' attractive new hairstyle may be true, others claiming that Australian Prime Minister John Howard has had a heart attack are fake, warns security experts.

Security firm Sophos describes the e-mail as a spam mail. The mail states that Mr. Howard has been hospitalized following a stroke, while it has a link which spoofs to connect to 'The Australian', a newspaper website that actually directs the reader to a page containing malware.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos said in a company press release, the hackers seem to return to their traditional tricks of spamming out mails with sensational headlines hoping that users will click to visit website infected with a malicious code.

The scammers are employing several domain names that purport to be associated with The Australian newspaper. They try to convince people that they are viewing the real site. Cluley says everyone should be wary of this kind of con e-mail to save his/her PC from getting infected.

The bogus e-mail appears with the subject line, "John Howard survived a heart attack." It then says that the Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard has beaten a heart attack. 67-year old John Howard was at Kirribilli House, his main residence in Sydney, when he felt the attack. Mr. Howard is in the Royal North Shore Hospital where Australia's best surgeons are fighting for his life.

Virus writers apply various social engineering techniques to trick users to open the malicious attachment. Use of current events and famous names in the spam mail as a bait is a favorite trick of spammers. Past spammers have used names of politicians like Vladimir Putin, Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, Arnold Schwarzenegger, P. W. Botha, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to spice up their phishing mails. In addition, such mails promise glimpses of glamorous celebrities like Julia Roberts, Anna Kournikova, Jennifer Lopez and Britney Spears have been used previously to spread viruses.

Related article: Fake E-Mails Purport to be from Government Agencies

» SPAMfighter News - 2/28/2007

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