Obama campaign target of “sex scandal” spam

September 9, 2008
A new spam campaign is emerging that exploits the seedier side of computer users. In a new wave of social engineering, in language that might have been written by Borat, the spam promises videos of presidential candidate Barack Obama having “sex action with many ukrainian girls.”

If a moron clicks on the moronic message, a sex video begins playing. But at the same time, in the background, information-stealing code is downloaded to the victim’s machine, according to a release from Websense, which claims it discovered the email campaign.

This email campaign loads a trojan dropper, which then installs a file in the computer user’s Temporary Internet Files folder, according to the Websense report. A browser helper object (BHO) is also registered, an information-stealing app that siphons off data from the end-user to a site registered in Finland.

We’ve been seeing various methods of phishing scams being perpetrated that exploit the topicality of the presidential campaign, but this one is particularly outrageous for the blatancy of its lies. It almost obliterates ethics in its stupidity. The message is so obviously untrue, yet it attempts to gain a measure of credibility by associating itself with a real person/event. It almost doesn’t matter that it is discrediting Obama. It could just as well be promising free jewels.

We’ve seen it before. Any item in the headlines – a natural disaster or celebrity disaster, say -- draws out the malicious exploiters intent on capitalizing on people’s natural proclivity to be empathetic, or their being susceptible to voyeuristic opportunities.

While the Red Cross solicits funds for victims of hurricanes, ruthless parasites get in on the action to redirect the well-intentioned, or the bored.
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