by Constantine von Hoffman

Obama and Romney are Neck and Neck…in the Malware Race

Oct 22, 20122 mins
MalwareMobile SecurityPhishing

Thanks to a new malicious email claiming to be from CNN, Mitt Romney and President Obama are now equally popular targets for hackers looking to distribute malware to unsuspecting victims.

As we head into tonight’s final Presidential debate (or, as my family calls it, Watching Dad Yell at the TV), many people say[1] the race between Tweedle A and Tweedle B is too close to call. Among the cybercriminal class, Obama and Romney are also running neck-and-neck. Both candidates are equally popular for distributing malware.

The former Mass. governor[2] was trailing in the malware race until an email, allegedly from CNN, started circulating with the subject line: “CNN Breaking News – Mitt Romney Almost President.” The email also featured a story with the headline “Revolution, which was anticipated so long ago, seems to have started.” (These malware guys really know their market.) Clicking on any of the email links brought victims to pages that directed them to some nasty JavaScript on other sites controlled by the attackers.

Much like the candidates themselves, there is nothing new about the attack. It follows the standard Blackhole exploit kit formula. As Websense Security notes: “The pattern used strongly resembles the pattern used in other malicious, BlackHole-based spam campaigns.” Same ol’ same ol.

Prior to this latest attack, Obama was leading the malware race thanks to a couple of malicious apps for Android phones:

  • “Captain America Barack Obama 1.0” which provides a 3D wallpaper of the president and the American flag; and
  • “Barack Obama Campaign LWP 1”

Gov. Romney only got one malicious apps (that we know of): “Mitt Romney Live Wallpaper 1.”

No word yet on how any of these apps are being received in swing states, by likely voters, registered voters, crazy cat ladies, kids these days, Starbucks’ baristas or any other key demographics.

1:These are the same people who think tonight’s final debate is the campaign’s make-or-break moment. I find that a little hard to believe as the topic this evening is foreign affairs. The last time the rest of the world mattered in a U.S. election was either 1916, when Wilson pledged to keep us out of the first World War, or 1944, when FDR was wrapping up WW the second.

2: Depending on which polls you read, Romney will lose Massachusetts by anywhere from 14 percent to 30 percent.