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10/5/2007
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Beware Phony E-Mails From Cute Blonde With Pigtails

Cybertricksters are luring unsuspecting users to click on a link to a malicious Web site by posing as a cute, long-lost friend from school.

Think you recognize that cute blonde with pigtails from high school?

Forget about it. She's just part of a new malware e-mail hoax, according to security company Sophos.

Researchers at Sophos are warning users about a new spam campaign by an attacker posing as a long-lost school friend. The e-mail tries to dupe users into clicking on a link to the phony girl's Web page, but the link actually leads to a Trojan horse designed to break into online accounts and commit identity theft.

"The lonely, the horny, or the just plain curious might be tempted to click on the link, but if they do, they risk falling straight into a trap set by hackers," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, in a written warning. "It's a pretty sad state of affairs that cyber criminals need little more than a picture of a blonde woman with pigtails to steal passwords from unwary Internet users. Everyone needs to learn to take more care over unsolicited e-mails, and ensure that they are properly defended when they open their e-mail inbox or surf the Web."

Researchers noted that the e-mails, which have been spammed out across the Internet, are set up to appear to be from a young blonde woman with pigtails. The woman, named Ann Berns, claims she went to high school with the e-mail recipient. The author even refers to fond memories of after-school walks and classroom conversations in an attempt to encourage the recipient into investigating further and clicking on the link.

Part of one e-mail reads: "Hi! I'm not sure if you remember me. I'm Ann Berns, I guess we went to high school together. It was quite a while ago but I still remember our friendship. Do you remember that walk after classes? It was really cool! I still think about you sometimes, all that fun, all whispering chats during classes. Do you want to see what I look like now? Visit my home page then"

Earlier this week, Sophos warned that cybertricksters are luring curious users to open a malicious attachment by promising nude photos of celebrity beauties. Instead of pictures, they get a Trojan downloader.

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