Sophos detects Gaddafi-related malware attack

Malware is sent via email as an attachment purporting to contain images of Gaddafi’s body

Tags: Cyber crimeSophos
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Sophos detects Gaddafi-related malware attack Grham Cluey, senior technology consultant at Sophos said that the death of Gaddafi has led to cybercriminals trying to take advantage of the news story to deliver their malware.
By  Georgina Enzer Published  October 23, 2011

IT security and data protection company Sophos has discovered a malicious email attack which capitalises on the death of former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

The scam tricks users into thinking the email is coming from the AFP news agency and is supposed to feature attached images of Gaddafi's body. 

When a user attempts to open these images on a Windows computer, they are made vulnerable to a malware attack.

Sophos said that the email usually has the subject line: Fw: AFP Photo News: Bloody Photos: Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi's Death.

With the message body saying: ‘Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the most wanted man in the world, has been killed, the country's rebel government claimed Oct. 20. The flamboyant tyrant who terrorised his country and much of the world during his 42 years of despotic rule was cornered by insurgents in the town of Sirte, where Gadhafi had been born and a stronghold of his supporters.'


"The death of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi has almost inevitably resulted in cybercriminals taking advantage of the news story, and the general public's seeming interest in viewing ghoulish photos and videos of his last moments," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.  "As unlikely as the legitimacy of these emails may seem - in this case, the latest photos being forwarded to you in an email attachment - the news is often just too interesting for people to ignore.  Internet users need to be sensible when it comes to a top news story, and not throw their security suspicions regarding links and unsolicited attachments out the window, in search of the latest revelations or shocking images."

2491 days ago
Vinod Mehra

It only progress to prove that you can always capitalize on human greed and wants. Thank you for the caveat.

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