University of Alabama at Birmingham August 19, 2008
Spammers Go Down To Georgia; New Attack Exploits War in Former SovietState
The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Spam Data Mine is showing the war in Georgia is being used to evade spam filters.The university detected a mass spam attack, collecting more than 500emails in a 90-minute period, carrying a link to a fake BBC story thatGeorgian president Mikheil Saakashvili is homosexual."Clicking on the headline or the image, which is really being loadedfrom the BBC web site, will take email readers to a virus-laden webpage," said Gary Warner, director of computer forensics research atUAB."The danger is that almost no antivirus products detected this viruswhen it began to be distributed this morning. Only four of 36 antivirusproducts knew this was a suspicious file in our tests this morning."Spamming on current news topics is not new, but the rate at which theattacks are foxing anti spam filters is worrying.Several of the servers sending out the spam are from within Russia,according to Warner, but this was unlikely to be a government organisedattack despite the use of state servers."Several of the computers being used to send the new spam campaign arein Russia, including at least one computer owned by the Federal Agencyof Education," he said."These spam messages serve a dual purpose: propaganda attack againstGeorgia, and adding of compromised hosts to botnets controlled bypro-Russians."
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