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
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
The Changing Face of Identity Management
Mobility and cloud services are altering the concept of user identity. Here are some ways to keep up.
Flash Poll
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2013-7445
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

CVE-2015-4948
Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2015-5660
Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

CVE-2015-6003
Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

CVE-2015-6333
Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio

The cybersecurity profession struggles to retain women (figures range from 10 to 20 percent). It's particularly worrisome for an industry with a rapidly growing number of vacant positions.

So why does the shortage of women continue to be worse in security than in other IT sectors? How can men in infosec be better allies for women; and how can women be better allies for one another? What is the industry doing to fix the problem -- what's working, and what isn't?

Is this really a problem at all? Are the low numbers simply an indication that women do not want to be in cybersecurity, and is it possible that more women will never want to be in cybersecurity? How many women would we need to see in the industry to declare success?

Join Dark Reading senior editor Sara Peters and guests Angela Knox of Cloudmark, Barrett Sellers of Arbor Networks, Regina Wallace-Jones of Facebook, Steve Christey Coley of MITRE, and Chris Roosenraad of M3AAWG on Wednesday, July 13 at 1 p.m. Eastern Time to discuss all this and more.