I don’t usually post about anything about computer viruses and worms, but this should be of interest to anyone who receives news alerts via e-mail. Many bloggers are likely to be affected by this malware. There is a nasty virus going about which comes in e-mails with fake news headlines in the subject line.
Storm chaos prompts virus surge
E-mails claiming to contain details of the storms that battered Europe contain a malicious virus, security firms warn.
The e-mails with the subject line “230 dead as storm batters Europe”, can leave computers vulnerable to attack.
The messages were first detected as the storms, which have killed at least 28 people, continued to rage.
Fortunately for me I don’t often blog about the weather and I use a product called Mailwasher Pro to check my e-mails before I download them. However, no system is completely foolproof. I receive a lot of news articles via email and it would be easy to accidentally download a virus or worm if the subject line was different. Today I deleted an e-mail from an unknown source entitled “Russian missile shot down USA aircraft”. That is the sort of thing I’m likely to download and it was only the sender’s e-mail address that made me suspicious. A quick look at the source code confirmed my suspicions, it contained an attachment called Full News.exe.
The new virus, called Small.DAM, was spread through emails with a variety of subject lines purporting to be news. Other variants included “British Muslims Genocide” and “U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza…”
The virus is a trojan – a program or message that look benign but contains malicious code – that is installed when a user opens the e-mail and clicks on an attachment. The attachment could be called Video.exe, Read More.exe, Full Clip.exe or Full Story.exe.
So this is just a word of caution to bloggers and other news junkies. Be careful what e-mails you download and keep your anti-virus software up-to-date (I’m sure most of you do).
The Register has more.