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10/1/2007
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Hackers Push Trojan With Promises of 'Nude Angelina Jolie' Pics

Malware writers in September were sending out waves of spam in an attempt to infect computers with the Pushdo Trojan horse by offering pictures of naked female celebrities.

An e-mail campaign that pushed out fraudulent and malicious messages promising nude pictures of actress Angelina Jolie accounted for four out of five infected spam messages last month.

That's according to researchers from security company Sophos, who blamed September's rise in e-mail-borne malicious threats on this coordinated campaign.

According to Sophos, malware writers were sending out waves of spam in an attempt to infect computers with the Pushdo Trojan horse. The coordinated campaign was in full force in the first half of September and then slowed a little as the month went on. The e-mails, which offer up naked pictures of Hollywood actresses like Angelina Jolie and Halle Berry, carry a malicious payload designed to give criminal hackers control over infected PCs, Sophos noted in an online report.

Sophos reported that during a single 24-hour period in the last week of September, the Pushdo Trojan accounted for almost four in every five infected emails.

"The Pushdo Trojan has been spammed out every Wednesday since March 2007 using a variety of enticing disguises, but lately, the cyber criminals have stepped up a gear and begun to spam innocent computer users at any time and on any day of the week," said Carole Theriault, senior security consultant at Sophos, in a statement. "The trick of tempting users with scantily clad pictures of hot-looking girls is as old as the hills, but people still fall for it. This outbreak underlines that hackers have not turned their backs on using e-mail as a vector for attack. It's essential that companies and individuals alike protect their gateways and inboxes with secure defenses, and think before they open unsolicited e-mails."

Sophos also reported that in September, one in every 833 e-mails were carrying malicious attachments, compared to 1 in every 1,000 during August.

The company lists the top five e-mail threats for September as: Netsky, account for 29.90% of all reports; Pushdo with 27.4%; Mytob with 9.2%; Zafi with 8.3%, and Frame with 6%.

In April, hackers launched a spam campaign to take advantage of a critical .ANI vulnerability. To lure users in, they sent out a flurry of e-mails promising nude pictures of pop star Britney Spears if they follow the link to a Web site.

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