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Attacks/Breaches

Phishers Play Top 40

Latest spam pretends to be video from your favorite musical artist

First they pretended to send you an e-card. Then they offered you a link to a spectacular YouTube video. Now they're promising you a free new video of Beyoncé.

According to a report issued yesterday by security vendor SophosLabs, phishers have launched another new wave of spam attacks, this one targeted at music fans. Many of the messages are designed to draw users into the Storm botnet that has been raging for the past month. (See Storm Worm Attacks Take on New Disguises.)

So far, Sophos has spotted emails that purport to offer videos not only of Beyoncé, but of many other music stars, including Kelly Clarkson, Rihanna, The Eagles, Foo Fighters, R. Kelly, and Velvet Revolver. Fans of Lawrence Welk or Liberace appear to be safe from the attack.

Clicking on a link inside the email will send surfers to a Web page containing a malicious script and a Trojan horse designed to turn the user's PC into a compromised zombie, Sophos says. If infected, hackers can use victims' computers to steal personal information, spam out malware and junk email, or launch distributed denial-of-service attacks against innocent parties.

"Earlier this week, hackers were pretending that their emails pointed to a YouTube video. Before that, they posed as e-cards or breaking news stories. What's clear is that they will keep on adopting new disguises to try and infect the Windows computers of innocent Internet surfers," says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

"Some may find the prospect of viewing the next Beyoncé video irresistible. This is less of a technological problem, and more of a human problem," Cluley says. "It may sound like a broken record, because we say it so often, but people need to stop clicking on links in unsolicited emails or risk a computer virus infection."

Sophos says it has updated its software to detect and stop the malware from infecting users' machines. The company did not say which musical act is its favorite.

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