Hackers using virulent malware worm dressed as Halloween fun to target victims. Warning: Do not click if you see the image in this story in your e-mail.
By Scott Berinato
This just in: Criminal hackers use holidays for social
Actually, that was just in about 15 years ago. Malware
posing as cute holiday greetings sent by e-mail is as old as
the concept of e-mail itself. And yet today, Halloween 2007, a
Storm Worm variant is spreading under the auspices of an
animated Halloween greeting card that features skeletons
cutting a rug to the Venga Boys’ “Boom Boom Boom.” EEEEEK!
According to several vendors announcing the new scam, e-mails
arrive with subject lines including: Happy Halloween; Dancing
Bones; The most amazing dancing skeleton; Show this to the
kids; Send this to your friends; Man this rocks.
By downloading the Janglin’ Bones Show, users will be mildly
amused, or simply distracted, for approximately eleven seconds.
During this time, their PCs will be infected with a variant of
the Storm Worm, a persistent and resilient bot that allows
remote control of the PC and has been used largely to
mass-distribute spam. In fact, it’s likely that Storm was used
to distribute the e-mail, which was timed perfectly, according
to Graham Cluley, a vice president at Sophos anti-virus.
It appears that e-mail directs users to a website that
cycles through several different pictures, all of which ask the
user to click to see the “Ossified Follies.” Here’s one of the
images, as captured by Sophos:
How fun does that look?!
It’s not yet clear how many people’s funny bones are
connected to their dumb bones. But the e-mail’s distribution is
widespread, increasing the number of people that likely fall
for the scam.
As to why and how people, after so many years of these types
of scams, continue to fall for them, Cluley says computer-savvy
users shouldn’t rush to judgment.
“There isn’t much excuse for the computer savvy among us,”
says Cluley, who found himself talking about the same problems
as he did
five years ago. “But say a man comes to your grandmother’s
door and says he’s the telephone repairman, hits her over the
head with a baguette and takes her pension.” (Cluley is
English, in case you were wondering.) “Do you say, ‘You stupid
old woman?’ No. You feel bad. You’re sympathetic. And you
should be. Not everyone has been using e-mail for ten years.
Not everyone knows better.”
Happy Halloween! Just don’t take candy—or
e-mail—from strangers, okay?