Spam, viruses, and Putin’s death

The Russian president is dead! That’s one of the messages we received at the Kaspersky Spam Lab today.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that it turned out to be a classic social engineering technique: arouse the user’s curiosity to get him/ her to click on a link contained in an email. Of course, the grammatical errors in the message, which are typical of spam, should be enough to put users on their guard.

However, it seems that there are still enough trusting people out there for such an approach to bear fruit. And today’s mass mailing turned out to be confirmation of the fact that more and more often, virus writers are using spam to circulate their creations.

Subject: ATTENTION !!! President of Russia has dead.

Attention!!!
Vladimir Putin has dead. Visit immediately to http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/click/rss/1.0/-/8/hi/russia/********.stm

BBC, BBC World and their respective logos are trade marks of the British Broadcasting Corporation, Logos © 1996

The link in this ‘sensational’ message appears to lead to the BBC site – an organization with a worldwide reputation. But if the user clicks on the link, s/he will be sent to a Russian site which has nothing at all to do with the BBC. This is made possible by the use of HTML in the message – although the user sees one link, there’s another, invisible link underneath, which leads to a totally different site.

And what’s the point? After all, the message isn’t selling anything. Well, according to our virus analysts, when you visit this site, Exploit.JS.ADODB.Stream.o is used to download a Trojan-Downloader (Trojan-Downloader.Win32.Agent.uj) onto your machine. And once a Trojan-Downloader is on your machine, it will probably start downloading other malicious programs…

In other words, curiosity can kill your computer. And put your personal data at risk. So here’s a gentle reminder – spam isn’t just a nuisance or an irritation. It’s a real cyberthreat.

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