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article imageSpammers Using Virginia Tech Shooting to Lure Online Victims

By malan     Apr 19, 2007 in Crime
Spammers attempt to capitalize on Virginia Tech shootings by using school name to lure people into opening unsolicited e-mail messages. Already, domain names, viruses and emails are being broadcast that bear the school's name.
A wave of spam mail has been released since the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech a few days ago.
Spammers are using subject lines and content that bears the name of the school. New internet domains are also popping up all over the place with names related the university and the shootings.
Researchers found that registration for new domain names that reference the Virginia Tech shooting have spiked and over 450 URLs and email address have already been purchased.
SANS Internet Storm Center Web site, Chief Research Officer Johannes Ullrich wrote that the same thing happened immediately after hurricane Katrina hit in 2005.
Some of them are used for benevolent purposes, however, a good share of them are parked for auction and even used for fraudulent donations.
SANS is setting up lists of the suspicious addresses related to Virginia Tech and is asking for help from other agencies as well to combat the spam and virus campaigns that are already beginning to launch.
Sophos, a Burlington, Mass anti-virus specialty group says at least one malware-laden spam campaign has started that users the Virginia Tech shootings to get people to open a file that infects their computers with a virus. There have also been email messages blasted out that claim to have cellphone footage of the shootings that actually direct users to a Trojan virus that bears the name TERROR_EM_VIRGINIA.scr.
Ron O'Brien, senior security analyst at Sophos said:
Cyber criminals prey on the interest of concerned citizens hoping for the latest information on breaking news and, if history repeats itself, we'll see this campaign continue until interest [in the tragedy] fades. We've seen similar behavior with other tragedies like Katrina and the death of Pope John Paul II.
This is truly sad to see people capitalizing on this tragedy. Innocent victims that are honestly concerned about what happened at Virginia Tech need to be extremely careful about what they open in their email box... because you never know what you're going to get.
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