Risk
4/28/2009
06:46 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Swine Flu Fears Fanned By Spammers

Some of these messages contain no malware or malicious links and appear to be information harvesting campaigns.

Using messages designed to exploit worries about the swine flu outbreak -- a technique known as social engineering -- spammers are trying to infect computers, steal information, and drive online pharmacy sales.

Symantec on Tuesday reported that spam messages with provocative titles like "Salma Hayek caught swine flu!" and "US swine flu fears" are being widely distributed.

"The [swine flu] scare has spawned a spamming frenzy, like sharks smelling blood in the water," Symantec researcher Mayur Kulkarni said in a blog post.

Some of these messages contain no malware or malicious links and appear to be information harvesting campaigns. But US-CERT, a computer security group operated in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, on Tuesday warned that spam messages may contain links to phishing or malware sites, or malicious attachments. It's encouraging Internet users to rely on the Centers for Disease Control Web site for information about the swine flu.

Marshal8e6, an e-mail security company, also said that it has seen flu-themed spam seasoned with celebrity references. It reports receiving spam containing links to online pharmacy sites sent by the Rustock botnet.

Trend Micro security researcher Adrian Labiano observes that spammers are using flu-themed subject lines because references to current events produce better results. "Spammers are using this social engineering technique because having the latest news as the mail's subject greatly increases the chance that the recipient will open their spammed messages," he explained in a blog post.

Another security company, F-Secure, finds that the swine flu outbreak has prompted a surge of Internet domain registrations related to the swine flu. The company has posted a list of 278 such domains. Most of them will probably be used in conjunction with spam campaigns or other dubious efforts to profit from the outbreak.

McAfee Avert Labs, which also has reported celebrity-themed swine flu spam, said that Internet domain registrations mentioning the word "swine" are up by factor of 30.

Cisco's IronPort anti-spam service said swine flu spam has accounted for as much as 4% of global spam recently.


InformationWeek Analytics has published an independent analysis on the current state of security. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
Dark Reading Live EVENTS
INsecurity - For the Defenders of Enterprise Security
A Dark Reading Conference
While red team conferences focus primarily on new vulnerabilities and security researchers, INsecurity puts security execution, protection, and operations center stage. The primary speakers will be CISOs and leaders in security defense; the blue team will be the focus.
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Vulnerabilities: The Next Wave
Just when you thought it was safe, researchers have unveiled a new round of IT security flaws. Is your enterprise ready?
Flash Poll
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
[Strategic Security Report] Assessing Cybersecurity Risk
As cyber attackers become more sophisticated and enterprise defenses become more complex, many enterprises are faced with a complicated question: what is the risk of an IT security breach? This report delivers insight on how today's enterprises evaluate the risks they face. This report also offers a look at security professionals' concerns about a wide variety of threats, including cloud security, mobile security, and the Internet of Things.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.