New Gaddafi spam threats emerge

Cyber-thieves continue with waves of Gadaffi spam and malware
Kerry Butters

November 2, 2011

The recent emergence of spam which takes advantage of the death of Gaddafi continues to spread and infect computers across the globe.

Spam immediately began to appear in the wake of the dictator’s death, usually with an attachment containing malware.

New threats have now emerged which promise to show videos of Gaddafi begging for his life, but contain malicious links which drop their payload once clicked.

In Brazil, a video which shows Gaddafi asking for mercy also contains “disturbing images”, according to Symantec.

The video carries malware and clicking on the link downloads a malicious executable file identified by Symantec as Trojan.Ransomlock!gen4.

This particular family of malware has the capability of locking the desktop on a victim computer, rendering it useless to the user.

Generally, this will be followed up by a request for cash to unlock the screen or, in some cases, vital documents that the user needs access to.

A different scam designed to take advantage of the news event is a message which asks the receiver to transfer large sums of cash towards a fund. The mail claims that should a user transfer money, then they will have access to an $8.5 million fund once it is ‘unlocked.’

Subject lines known to be associated with Gaddafi spam include: “Late Muammar Gaddafi’s estate; Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi’s death may not be true and Urgent assistance needed from abu Ismail Aide-de-camp to late Moammar Gaddafi.”

Symantec advises users to exercise caution when searching for news relating to his death and not to open attachments received from unsolicited email.

As always, it is also advisable to ensure all security software is up to date and avoid clicking on sensationalist links on social media sites and Youtube.


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