Feeds

'UK's Chernobyl' spam spreads Trojan

Fallout hits inboxes

High performance access to file storage

A widespread spam campaign claims that a nuclear power plant on the outskirts of London exploded on Tuesday afternoon.

No such plant exists anywhere near London. The nearest is probably Dungeness B in south east Kent, some 77 miles (124km) by road from the capital.

The email claims to offer pictures of victims. In reality, the attached zip file is contaminated with a Trojan horse, identified by net security firm Sophos as Troj/Agent-HQE. Once the malware is installed, hackers can use it to spy on the victim's computer and steal information for financial gain.

The emails typically arrive with subject lines such as Reply: A report on radiation contamination of Canada, suggesting that a Chernobyl-style nuclear calamity has befallen the UK and local authorities have succeeded in hushing it up.

"Rather than use a real life event, the hackers have turned to fictional explosions and conspiracy theories in the hope they will strike a nerve with potential victims who will then click on the attachment without a second thought," commented Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

Earlier this week virus writers distributed a contaminated email purporting to contain pornographic footage of presidential hopeful Barack Obama and a Ukrainian woman of easy virtue. A poor-quality porno clip - not featuring Obama, we hasten to add - was actually offered up, but the main purpose of the attack was to spread a form of spyware designed to intercept bank login credentials.

The two attacks - together with older claims by the Storm Worm gang that World War III had broken out in the Middle East - led us to wonder what spam tagline people are most likely to open. Sophos's Cluley said this varied with what was currently in the news, but sport and sex lures were always popular.

"Even though there's a plethora of porn freely available on the net people are sometimes tempted to click on something they receive by email in the misguided belief that their anti-virus software will always protect them. Something that's unusual, topical or glamorous tends to incite interest. That's why the Anna Kournikova worm did so well," he added. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
OpenSSL Heartbleed: Bloody nose for open-source bleeding hearts
Bloke behind the cockup says not enough people are helping crucial crypto project
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
Experian subsidiary faces MEGA-PROBE for 'selling consumer data to fraudster'
US attorneys general roll up sleeves, snap on gloves
NSA denies it knew about and USED Heartbleed encryption flaw for TWO YEARS
Agency forgets it exists to protect communications, not just spy on them
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.