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Sober infected PCs spew right-wing 'hate spam'

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Virus writers turned PCs infected with the Sober-P worm into relay stations for right-wing propaganda using backdoor access into compromised machines to load malicious code.

Sober-Q was downloaded from Saturday (14 May) onwards onto computers infected by recent Sober-P worm. The mass mailing Sober-P worm tricked recipients into thinking they had won tickets to the 2006 World Cup football tournament, duping numerous victims since its first appearance on 2 May.

Sober-Q doesn't spread itself via e-mails (even though it's been lumped with the Sober worm family it lacks any self-replicating function, so it's not a virus). The malware is essentially a spam engine - bulk mailing links to websites with right-wing German nationalistic content to domains with suffixes '.de', '.ch', '.at' or '.li'. Sober-Q also spams messages in English to domains outside the German-speaking world.

Examples of Sober-Q subject lines include: "Multi-Kulturell = Multi-Kriminell" (Multi-culturally = multi-criminally); "Dresden 1945" and "The Whore Lived Like a German".

"Spam has been traditionally regarded as annoying messages that promote Viagra, porn and low cost mortgages," said Scott Chasin, CTO of email security firm MX Logic. "But for the past year we have seen a trend in which worm authors are using spam not to hawk goods, but as a tool for political propaganda."

In June 2004, a spambot network used PCs infected by another variant of the Sober worm to disseminate political spam in one of the first attacks of its kind. The spread of the hate mail spam messages generated by Sober-Q coincides with ongoing celebrations throughout Europe this week marking the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. ®

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