Malicious emails, posing as several false breaking news stories including the death of President Bush, have been spammed out to email users in a world-wide campaign.
Spammed the day after Democrats won control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Dref-N worm is attached to emails with subject lines such as "White House news" and "Incredible news."
The malicious email entices email users into clicking on a malicious attachment – actually the worm download – claiming to include details of a major news story.
The email claims Bush is dead, urging people to read the infected file for further details, but it actually disables the Windows firewall and allows hackers to access the victimized user's computer.
Other false stories include the outbreak of a nuclear war and the assassination of the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos, said: "While many of these news hooks sound implausible, it's amazing how many users still allow temptation to get the better of them, and click on the file. Users think that they are receiving these emails from their friends, family and colleagues, but in fact it's a worm that has infected the sender's computer and distributed the message," he said. "If you suspect there's a breaking news story, turn on the TV or visit [a] news website to see if it has any basis in truth."