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Sick claim used to peddle malware

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Virus writers have moved on from using Osama bin Laden's or Arnold Schwarzenegger's supposed suicides as a lure to trying a similar trick involving "footage" of slain American captive Nick Berg.

VXers have seeded multiple Usenet groups with messages claiming Berg is alive and well in Iraq and pointing users towards supposed video footage from al-Jazeera. In reality this file offers only the Hackarmy Trojan. Last month virus writers used the same trick to try to con users into believing the same Trojan was either a suicide note from Arnold Schwarzenegger or photographs depicting Osama Bin Laden's supposed untimely demise.

Hackarmy has been around for some months and the Usenet spamming ploy is been repeatedly used in an attempt to give the aging malware a second lease of life.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, described the latest manifestation of the ploy as "despicable" and "insensitive". "The people behind Hackarmy are well versed in using morbid tricks to entice unsuspecting users - having recently claimed that Arnold Schwarzenegger and Osama Bin Laden were dead. This time, in an attempt to infect yet more PCs, they've resorted to claims that someone who was brutally killed is in fact alive," Cluley commented.

Communications worker Nick Berg was beheaded by Iraqi insurgents in May. A video of Berg's gruesome death was posted on an al Qaeda-linked website. ®

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