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Miscreants are trying to convince email users that their telephone conversations are being recorded in a ruse designed to scare prospective marks into buying bogus security software. Emails promoting the campaign are laced with a new Trojan horse malware.

The Dorf-AH Trojan horse appears as an attachment in emails claiming that the sender is a private detective listening into a recipient's phone calls. This "detective" claims he's prepared to switch sides and reveal who has paid for the surveillance at a later date.

In the meantime, prospective marks are asked to listen to the supposed recording of one of their recent phone calls that comes attached to the email in the form of a password-protected RAR-archived MP3 file. In reality, however, the MP3 file is not an audio file of a telephone conversation or anything else but a malicious executable program that installs malware onto victim's computer.

An extract from a typical email reads like the dialogue from a decidedly inferior pulp fiction novel:

I am working in a private detective agency. I can't say my name now. I want to warn you that i'm going to overhear your telephone line. Do you want to know who is the payer? Wait for my next message.

P.S. I'm sure, you don't believe me. But i think the record of your yesterday's conversation will assure you that everything is real.

Net security firm Sophos reports that among the malware types downloaded onto infected PCs is an item of scareware which displays a fake Windows Security Centre alert in a bid to trick victims into purchasing bogus security software.

Sophos said the gang distributing the scareware had been unsuccessfully trying to punt it for weeks before hitting on the private eye scare tactic.

"This attack has gone from defective to detective - these private dicks failed first time round because they made fundamental mistakes in their malware code. Now, in this latest case, the authors' emails are more than capable of infecting the unwary," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"It may seem hard to believe that anyone would fall for a trick like this, but it wouldn't be a surprise if people tried to run the attachment just out of curiosity," he added. ®

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