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Virus writers are using claims that Tony Blair's email address has been hacked as a ruse to trick punters into visiting sites hosting malware. The false claim was made in a series of spam messages sent out on 6 May, the day after a UK general election that resulted in Blair's Labour party return to office for a record third term.

Recipients of the "BBC: Tony Blair email account hacked!" messages were invited to visit a site that claimed to offer a screenshot of "Blair's hacked account". In reality visitors were sent to a site harbours a series of Trojan horses that aim to steal confidential information from infected PCs, including sensitive online banking account details. Users are advised to be wary of any such unsolicited message.

"Clicking on the link takes users to a website which invisibly installs a Trojan horse on the victim's computer. This Trojan horse then attempts to install other malicious code onto the infected computer and install password stealers which can be used by hackers for grabbing sensitive information and bank account details," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

One of the Trojan horses, PWSAgent-A, attempts to steal INETCOMM server passwords, Microsoft Internet Explorer FTP passwords, Outlook account manager passwords, among other thing. Other malware components of the attack include the JDownL-A, Viper-A, Viperjs-A and the Dumaru-BE banking Trojan horse. All these items of malware affect only Windows machines, as is the norm.

It's not the first time the British prime minister has featured in a viral attack. In 2003, the Quarters worm overwrote files on infected PCS with a rant against the policies of Tony Blair's government. The worm also used infected Windows boxes as a platform to launch a denial-of-service attack against the 10 Downing Street website. The attack failed in its aim to knock the Downing Street website offline. ®

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