Friday, June 27, 2008

Cruel malware hoax targeting Chinese earthquake fears

Amongst the many e-mails that piled up in my work account, I saw a number with subject headings such as "1000000 dead in Chinese earthquake" or "Terrible earthquake devastated Beijing." I didn't know the senders, I hadn't seen anything about a new earthquake in China on airport televisions, and I hadn't received any messages from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service about a big earthquake in China. (Tonga, yes; China, no.) So I deleted all the messages, figuring they were probably some kind of potentially dangerous spam.

And sure enough, they are. There's information about them on various internet security blogs. This one (mxlogic) has information about the specific malware involved: it's a worm, and only infects your computer if you click on the link in the e-mail, and then attempt to watch the fake video on the linked page.

At least one of my spam e-mails came from a geologic-sounding address, so I figure it's useful to pass the word around: the message is fake. There hasn't been a devastating earthquake in Beijing. (Thank goodness.)

After the tragedy of the Sichuan earthquake, this is a particularly cruel hoax.

1 comment:

Mel said...

I've received many of those same messages as well. I wonder, are there a lot of non-geoligists getting these e-mails or has some geo-database been sold to a spammer?