Virus Alert: Photos of Dead Gaddafi Spreading Malware
Former Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi’s death has hit the headlines everywhere, as have a variety of graphic images and video of his capture and execution, making their way into our RSS reader feeds, social network timelines and email inboxes. With the end of a 42 year tyranny, many of course are elated, and are sharing the news as widely as they can.
According to computer and Internet software protection firm Sophos, the rapid spread of the news of Gaddafi’s summary execution has opened the door for hackers to blanket the Web with their own version of the event, along with a nasty, hidden surprise.
“Malicious hackers have spammed out an attack posing as pictures of Gaddafi’s death,” said Sophos’ Senior Technology Consultant Graham Cluley. Because the images look like they came from the AFP News Agency and appear to have been forwarded by a friend, many recipients have felt comfortable in opening the emails.
As you can see from the image supplied by Sophos, the subject line of the typical email reads “Fw: AFP Photo News: Bloody Photos: Libya dictator Moammar Gaddafi’s Death.,” and the body has a short statement about Gaddafi having been killed. Attached to the email, and the source of problems for any PC user who opens the file, is a .rar file, typically named Bloody Photos_Gadhafi_Death.rar.
According to Cluley, any PC user who opens and “decompresses the attached file are putting their PCs at risk of infection.” If you’re afraid you’ve already opened and decompressed such a file, you can perform a search of your PC for the file Bloody Photos_Gadhafi_Death/Gadhafi?rar.scr (note the difference in the name,) then delete the file.
As always, Sophos in its alert reminds users “to be very careful about the links they click on, and to be suspicious of unsolicited attachments.” I’m sure most of you have heard horror stories about attached viruses, so I don’t think I need to say anymore on the subject.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with celebrating the passing of a brutal dictator. Just make sure you’re safe out there on the Interwebs.