Spammers leverage news of a new Pope and other world events

Major world events always bring with them an upsurge in related spam and the election and inauguration of a new Pope is no exception.

Since Pope Francis was elevated to the head of the Catholic Church, several observers have noted an increase in fake news spam, designed to fool people into clicking on malicious links. For example, Dynamoo’s Blog reports malware being spread with Pope-related messages made to look like they are from CNN, using these headlines:

  • “Opinion: New Pope Sued For Not Wearing Seat Belt In Popemobile”
  • “Opinion: Can New-Pope Benedict be Sued for the Sex Abuse Cases?”

Both contain links to the “stories” which in fact download malware.

Meanwhile, in other news, fake BBC alerts on the recent Cyprus financial crisis have been circulating with links that go to a site booby-trapped with the Blackhole exploit kit (hxxp://go-my.ru/cyprus_news.html). The page is detected by ESET as a phishing site and users are protected. The malware uses the latest Java exploit CVE-2013-0431 and ESET detects the samples as Win32/Cridex.AA and Java/Exploit.Agent.NMK.

Spam like this makes one nostalgic for the days when all the spammer wanted recipients to do was buy something.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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22 Mar 2013
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