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Hackers exploit China earthquake to punt Trojan

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Unscrupulous virus writers have inevitably latched onto the Chinese earthquake disaster, which killed more than 50,000, to punt malware. The Trojan-laced email attacks follow earlier phishing scams themed around the Sichuan province disaster.

Emails with infected Word attachments contaminated by MalDoc-Fam Trojan are being distributed in messages the pose as news about the disaster, net security firm Sophos reports. The malware-tainted emails typically appear with body text suggesting they contain news from China's official press agency, Xinhua.

BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from the earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province has risen to 34,074 nationwide as of 2 p.m. Saturday, while 198,347 people were injured, according to the Information Office of the State Council. Pay attention to attachment for more.

Opening the attached Word document triggers an exploit that downloads malware onto vulnerable Windows PCs. The MalDoc-Fam Trojan is more than a year old, dating from March 2007.

Malware authors commonly exploit natural disasters to spread their wares. Similar attacks followed the London transport suicide bombing attacks of 2005, Hurricane Katrina, and the Asian tsunami of 2004. ®

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