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Australian E-Mail Scan Uses Cricket Team Subject

While Australia's one-day cricket team struggles for victory, Trojan creators have used it as the latest subject to dupe Australians into installing malware, says world security vendor SurfControl.

The vendor's threat analysts in Sydney have seen e-mails with subject heads: "Australian cricket team fighting for one day rankings" and "Paraglider surviving storm in NSW".

The fraudsters have designed the threat to record user activity by monitoring their browsing habits, and using that information to redirect users to a malicious website. This crafty website shows up an error message reading "page is not available due to traffic", said the firm. The site then tries to automatically download trojans that in turn download many other files.

The new e-mails followed a similar threat that surfaced a day before, which had the subject line, "Prime Minister has survived a heart attack." It shows how hackers have rotated the earlier malicious URL of February 20 2007, said Rob Forsyth, MD at security firm Sophos for news that SCMagazine published on February 21, 2007.

Later Forsyth said it was peculiar how the URL spotted on February 20 was now campaigning a group of units in Turkey. The URL was now spreading its infection to computers in other regions without clearly indicating its destination, he said.

Virus writers and hackers have used the Australian prime minister and the country's cricket team as the latest baits from the extended line of public figures. Sophos analysts have noted how scammers are using names of politicians like Vladimir Putin, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to spam out mails in the same kind of scams. They also use names of celebrities like Halle Berry, Jennifer Lopez, Anna Kournikova and Britney Spears to lure e-mail recipients to open links that lead them to malicious sites.

Hackers appear to return with their old tricks of using sensational headlines in their spam mails hoping that users will open them and visit the malignant site, said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, in a company press release. Thus, people should be vigilant of such e-mails or expose their computers to infection.

Related article: Australian Blogger Uses Spam To Boost Blog

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