Look out for worms in your spam!

Increased use of spam combined with social engineering to spread malware

PandaLabs has detected an increase in the use of spam combined with social engineering to spread malware. Several examples have appeared over the last few days.

The most recent case detected involves emails warning of an alleged malware alert (with subjects such as: Worm alert! or spyware alert!), but whose real aim is to spread the Nurech.Z worm. To make the messages more credible, typically trusted sources such as Customer Support are used as the name of the sender.

Another recent case uses photographs of Britney Spears as bait. The email has subjects including Britney spears naked pussy & paris Hilton or Hot pictures of Britiney Speers. On opening the email, users will find several erotic photos of the singer. However, when they click on the photo they will actually be downloading the malicious code onto the computer. This worm exploits a vulnerability in Microsoft ANI files in order to spread. This code then downloads other examples of malware onto computers.

The third example is similar to the previous one, although it emerged a few days later. The only difference is the protagonist. In this case it uses photos of the pornstar Jenna Jameson as a lure to trick users into clicking on the link hidden in the pictures. The result is the same. The malicious code exploits vulnerabilities in ANI files to infect the computer and download more malware.

Emails have also been received with subjects like Hot pictures of paris hilton nude or other similar titles. The aim is the same: to entice users into clicking on a link and falling into the trap. This is known as social engineering, explains Luis Corrons, technical director of PandaLabs.

Another example has been used to spread the Grum.A worm. This malware spreads in emails offering a beta of Internet Explorer 7. As in the previous cases, the message contains a photograph, which in this case supposedly gave access to the beta version of IE 7.

Why use spam to spread malware? On the one hand, junk mail reaches people on a massive scale and therefore improves the chances of success. On the other, in this way cyber-crooks get the users themselves to download the infected file, so avoiding malicious attachments being detected and eliminated by antivirus solutions., explains Luis Corrons.

All users that want to know whether their computers have been attacked by these or other malicious code can use TotalScan, the free online solution available from Panda Security

About Panda Security

Profile: Panda Security is a global leading provider of IT security solutions, with millions of clients in more than 200 countries and products available in 23 languages. Our mission is to develop and supply global security solutions to keep our clients' IT resources safe from the damage inflicted by viruses, intruders and other Internet threats at the lowest possible Total Cost of Ownership. Panda Security proposes a new security model, specially designed to firmly combat new types of cyber-crime. This results in technologies and products with much greater detection and efficiency rates than the market average, providing a higher level of security to our users.

History: Founded in 1990 in Bilbao, Spain, by Mikel Urizarbarrena, the company has been called Panda Software for its first 17 years. Under this brand, it became market leader in Spain in 1995 and started its international expansion in 1996. It currently has direct sales presence in 56 countries through an extensive network of subsidiaries and franchises. The year 2007 has been an inflection point, opening a new era in the companys history to consolidate its international expansion. To start, we have changed brand: we are now called Panda Security, a name that better reflects our commitment to providing global security. Furthermore, important investment groups, like Investindustrial and Gala Capital, have entered the companys share capital. We have also strengthened management of the company through the appointment of a new CEO, Jorge Dinars.

Products and solutions: Panda Security has various product lines, for companies and home users: security software, security appliances and managed security services. All of our solutions are backed by tech support, made up of an expert team of professionals available at all times. Recent milestones in technology and innovation: Our corporate slogan, One step ahead, sums up the competitive advantage that has characterized our company from the start: our commitment to continuous innovation and change, our capacity to keep one step ahead in the fight against computer threats.

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