Malware thrown on California bush fires
Scareware burns incautious surfers
California bush fires that have destroyed 50 homes and ten commercial buildings - and claimed the lives of two firefighters - have become the latest lure for malware scams.
Surfers searching for information about fires in the Auburn area using terms such as "auburn fire map" are presented with a list that includes pointers to sites harbouring malware, Reg reader Michael Fingleton warns.
Sophos confirmed that it found fake anti-virus software (detected as FakeAV-ZJ Trojan) on the sites. The infected websites are also spreading Mac malware, specifically Jahlav-C.
"Users would be wise to rely on well-known news outlets for updates on the latest breaking stories, as tasteless hackers are never slow to leap on an opportunity like this," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, Sophos.
The incident is the latest example of profit-motivated VXers taking advantage of tragedies and natural disasters to distribute crud. Malware attacks also accompanied the recent death of Michael Jackson, Hurricane Katrina and the outbreak of swine flu, to cite just a few examples among many.
More recently, trendy topics on Twitter have acted as the input for black-hat search engine manipulation. Cybercriminals use a battery of automatically registered Twitter accounts to submit updates containing hashtags related to hot conversation topics. These messages also contain pre-defined Tinyurl links, leading to sites offering malware in the guise of codecs supposedly needed to view online video clips.
In related news, the California fires are threatening broadcasting and mobile phone towers on top of Mount Wilson, the LA Times reports. The historic Mount Wilson Observatory is also in danger. ®
"Mac malware, specifically Jahlav-C"
There is no such fecking thing as Mac malware. Macs are awesome and unbreakable and secure by design and even the buffer overflow attack cower in fear of the mighty Macs. Everyone knows that, especially the frigging bladdy marroon who had the ho-so brilliant idea to replace all the old iMacs runnins OS9 by spanking new Slow Leper machines. In the labs. Were people were running nothing but their loved and customized OS9 apps (most of which had never been ported to Leopard in the first place). By specialized I mean "my Oh-so-very customized PCR primer design app which was fine-tuned for years to take full advantage of the NCBI Genebank API", and by "replace" I mean Howwwwdy-Howww! This morning your good old machine is not there anymore, but this one is better! (which is probably true, btw, but it's totally irrelevant). Oh, and there are a lot of hardware issues, too. So thanks to some genial Apple fanboy, all the good old trusted machines have been replaced with boxes with an untested, unsupported OS on them. A good two-third of the labgeek pool is unable to work because of course, most of our specialized apps won't be ported to Slow Leper before next year, and half of the keyboards won't reliably work untill next month. Who the frigging frack replaces a trusted production OS by a 2-days-old shiny pixy-juice-powered unstable "upgrade"? Without any frigging kid of notice? Certainly not someone who has to bother about real work being done, or about keeping the lusers quiet, for that matter. Seriously, I used to be kinda neutral in the "Apple vs the Rest of The World" war, but that does it. Apple Fanbuoys need to die. Now. All of them. For the sake of the people who actually do some work. (no, checking the internet for updates on S. Jobs health does *not* count as an IT diploma, despite most Apple Lusers seem to believe*)
End of rant.
* To be honest, it's only marginally worst than thinking that a MCSE is of any worth, but the current rant is focussed at Apple so STFU.
...when we'll see the first disaster started for the explicit purpose of distributing malware. Or has that already occured? Fires are notoriously easy to start.