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Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Malware purveyors have wasted no time capitalizing on Barack Obama's landslide victory in the US presidential race. Within 12 hours of his acceptance speech Tuesday night, net users were being treated to scams involving Google AdWords and prodigious volumes of spam.

The spam comes masked as dispatches from legitimate news sources, including the BBC and CNN, and invite readers to click a link to view a video of Obama accepting his country's vote. Those who take the bait are sent to a spoof page of the news site that claims they need to update their Adobe Flash Player before viewing the speech.

In fact, Adobe_flash9.exe installs the notorious Trojan-PSW:W32/Papras.CL, according to anti-virus provider F-Secure. Earlier Wednesday, just 14 of the 36 major anti-virus programs detected the trojan, according to this analysis from VirusTotal. Once installed, the malware, which cloaks itself in a rootkit, logs passwords for bank sites and other sensitive information and sends them to a server located in Ukraine.

The fraudulent news sites are being hosted on a fast-flux network of infected machines, according to this analysis by the CyberCrime & Doing Time blog. Cloudmark, a company that provides spam filtering service, has already seen more than 10 million of the spam messages, according to the Zero Day blog.

Scammers were also exploiting the now-completed presidential race using Google's Sponsored Links. Early Wednesday, searches related to the President Elect returned paid results that included links to websites that tried to install malware on end users' machines, The Times Online reported. The malicious ads were no longer appearing on Google at time of writing.

The barrage of Obama-themed attacks are part of a broader trend of using current events to trick people into following links that lead to attacks. The US presidential election has been a favorite source of such attacks over the past year, with the names of candidates such as John McCain, Hillary Clinton, Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee all invoked. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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