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Fraudsters have launched a phishing campaign thattries to dupe football fans into believing they've won a FIFA-sponsored lottery in an attempt to steal bank account information.

The bogus email notifications of supposed $1m winnings prey on interest in the Football World Cup tournament, scheduled to take place for the first time in South Africa in 2010. FIFA, the international football governing body, has posted a warning on its website.

The latest spam attacks represent a phishing refinement on standard lottery scams themed around the 2010 World Cup dating back over a year or more. "Everyone should be suspicious if they are unexpectedly told they have won a fortune," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "Computer users who fall for this trick will be feeling as sick as a parrot when their bank accounts are emptied and they find they have become the victim of identity fraudsters."

World Cup fever has captured the imagination of VXers as well as fraudsters. In May, virus writers released a version of the Sober email worm that ensnared victims by posing as an email from the World Cup 2006 organising committee. Like previous variants, Sober-P was Windows specific and spread as an infected ZIP attachment to messages written in either German or English.

Infected emails pose as ticket confirmation messages from organisers of the football World Cup, due to be held in Germany next year. The worm composes messages with subject lines such as "WM-Ticket-Auslosung" and "Your Password" with attachments such as Fifa_Info-Text.zip containing a .pif payload file. Days after the release of Sober-P, hackers to turn infected machines into relay stations for nationalist spam causing a considerable nuisance in the process. ®

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