Feeds

German hate mail spam attack stuns experts

Virus spreads racist propaganda

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Mailboxes in Germany and the Netherlands were flooded yesterday with spam containing German right-wing propaganda. Spammers used the Sober.G virus - a mass mailing worm that sends itself to email addresses harvested from infected computers - to spread their messages as widely as possible.

Analysts think the spammers may have worked in tandem with virus programmers to hijack PCs and use addresses found there to build large distribution lists. This is believed to be the first time that right wing extremists have used spamming systematically to reach a broad audience. The sheer size of the operation stunned many experts.

Although none of the mails referred to it specifically, the European election may well have triggered the flood of racist emails. Some of the messages, with taglines such as "What Germany needs are German children", complained about the increasing numbers of immigrants from Turkey and Belarus, who are "driving criminality up" and are entering into "mixed relationships" with German women. Other mails, Deutsche Welle reports, warned of the rising cost of medical care on foreigners who increasingly travel to Germany as "medical tourists".

German magazine Der Spiegel reported that 80 per cent of the spam it received came from a server at the University of Rostock. The university says it will work with IT experts to trace the spam back to its original source.

According to the German news site Heise Online, the Sober G. virus seems to get its instructions from servers at home.arcor.de, people.freenet.de, home.pages.at, scifi.pages.at en free.pages.at, but there is still no conclusive evidence as to who orchestrated the unprecedented flood of hate emails.

Some suspect that the German newspaper Junge Freiheit ("New Freedom"), which seeks political respectability for a right-wing conservative body of thought, may have something to do with it, as some of the messages explicitly refer to it. ®

Related stories

Virus writers deploy bulk mail software
Zombie PCs spew out 80% of spam
Spam fighters infiltrate spam clubs
Phatbot arrest throws open trade in zombie PCs

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
NASTY SSL 3.0 vuln to be revealed soon – sources (Update: It's POODLE)
So nasty no one's even whispering until patch is out
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
US government fines Intel's Wind River over crypto exports
New emphasis on encryption as a weapon?
To Russia With Love: Snowden's pole-dancer girlfriend is living with him in Moscow
While the NSA is tapping your PC, he's tapping ... nevermind
Forget passwords, let's use SELFIES, says Obama's cyber tsar
Michael Daniel wants to kill passwords dead
Slap for SnapChat web app in SNAP mishap: '200,000' snaps sapped
This is what happens if you hand your username and password to a 3rd-party
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.