Obama – the favorite theme for spam and Altnet.e Malware

What attracts the most readers, the most views and the most downloads? The answer is always the same: it’s the most recent and the most urgent problems. What’s the biggest buzz of the last week? Barack Obama, the first African-American to be elected President of the United States. Obama was the junior United States Senator from Illinois from 2005 until he resigned on November 16, 2008, following his election to the Presidency. His term of office as the 44th U.S. president will begin on January 20, 2009. His being elected as the 44th president of the United States is still the one that attracts interest of many people all around the world. Needless to say, the victory of Obama attracted malware creators too.

The first wave of Obama-themed spam and AdWare.Win32.Altnet.e malware arose only few hours after the presidential election and it still keeps going. Sophos even reported 60% of spam messages being Obama-related the day after his historical victory. This event was really important for the residents of the U.S. but it was also interesting for the rest of the world. This is probably the reason why scammers decided to exploit this need of information.

The scams appeared in two different forms. First type of scam uses spam email that offers watching Obama interview and links to an infected video website. Those who are interested in watching the video are insisted on downloading BarackObama.exe file. The file contains fraudulent payload. The other Obama-themed fraud also uses spam to reach its victims. This spam promotes acceptance speech video uploaded on a malicious website. Once a user follows the link to watch the video, he/she is offered Adobe Flash Player update. The update may seem to be legitimate as it is named adobe_flash9.exe, but it’s not the official update file from Adobe company. The ‘update’ file actually hides a trojan.

Be careful when browsing the latest news and avoid clicking links provided on spam emails.

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