Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Risk

4/28/2009
06:46 PM
Connect Directly
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
News
Inside the Ransomware Campaigns Targeting Exchange Servers
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/2/2021
Commentary
Beyond MITRE ATT&CK: The Case for a New Cyber Kill Chain
Rik Turner, Principal Analyst, Infrastructure Solutions, Omdia,  3/30/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-7270
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Exposure of Sensitive Information in the web interface in McAfee Advanced Threat Defense (ATD) prior to 4.12.2 allows remote authenticated users to view sensitive unencrypted information via a carefully crafted HTTP request parameter. The risk is partially mitigated if your ATD instances are deploye...
CVE-2020-7308
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information between McAfee Endpoint Security (ENS) for Windows prior to 10.7.0 February 2021 Update and McAfee Global Threat Intelligence (GTI) servers using DNS allows a remote attacker to view the requests from ENS and responses from GTI over DNS. By gaining con...
CVE-2021-23884
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Cleartext Transmission of Sensitive Information vulnerability in the ePO Extension of McAfee Content Security Reporter (CSR) prior to 2.8.0 allows an ePO administrator to view the unencrypted password of the McAfee Web Gateway (MWG) or the password of the McAfee Web Gateway Cloud Server (MWGCS) read...
CVE-2021-23886
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Denial of Service vulnerability in McAfee Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Endpoint for Windows prior to 11.6.100 allows a local, low privileged, attacker to cause a BSoD through suspending a process, modifying the processes memory and restarting it. This is triggered by the hdlphook driver reading invali...
CVE-2021-23887
PUBLISHED: 2021-04-15
Privilege Escalation vulnerability in McAfee Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Endpoint for Windows prior to 11.6.100 allows a local, low privileged, attacker to write to arbitrary controlled kernel addresses. This is achieved by launching applications, suspending them, modifying the memory and restarting ...