Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/07/31/facebook_fed_hunt_storm_worm_ruse/

Feds not scouring Facebook for terrorists (say Feds)

Social engineering used to whip up Storm worm

By John Leyden

Posted in Security, 31st July 2008 15:25 GMT

An FBI-backed organisation has warned computer users to ignore claims that the Feds are scouring Facebook for terrorists.

A new batch of junk mail messages claims the FBI is on the hunt for Jihadist fans of the social networking site.

The claims are a ruse to try and persuade prospective marks to click a link that promises more information, while actually delivering malware designed to add more Windows drones to the Storm worm botnet.

Virus writers often use the promise of celebrity skin or fake news items, the more sensationalist the better, to dupe the credulous into visiting booby-trapped websites. These social engineering efforts are almost invariably woefully lame, but the latest attack has a rare hint of plausibility and invention. After all, Western anti-terrorism agents have reportedly been keeping tabs of insurgents in Sadville. From there its only a short step to think that would-be suicide bombers may have set up shop on Facebook.

Of course, anyone can see that Washington's spooks have much more important things to do than trawl the web looking for terrorists, and the Feds' assurances will surely put most people's minds at rest. But some gullible types find the idea semi-plausible.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a joint partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), has taken the unusual step of warning of the latest Storm front. Trend Micro has a technical analysis of the attack, complete with screenshots of sample messages, here. ®