/ August 17, 2008

Hackers Strike Olympic Gold

According to BBC News, the Beijing Olympics have proven a major boon for computer hackers and spammers this summer, providing endless content to lure unsuspecting web-surfers into scams and malicious downloads. As new spamming techniques grow increasingly sophisticated, it has become more and more difficult for users to distinguish between valid content and bogus emails and links. By referencing the Olympics, hackers can tap into a widely followed event to increase their likelihood of capturing an innocent reader. Experts have also predicted a proliferation of fake websites, ones that mimic Olympic themes to draw people in.

Botnets are also vying for Olympic success, using the games in their spam to incorporate more machines into their networks. Once infected, after a click on a spam link or a fake software download, a computer is integrated into the botnet system, and it will begin spamming other machines. One notorious botnet, dubbed Rustock, has been using links to phony CNN videos of the games to recruit new machines.

And even the International Olympic Committee is not immune from the spam attacks. According to MessageLabs, a security company, a hacker is targeting professional sports clubs with emails purporting to be from the IOC. The emails include a malicious Adobe download that can hijack a computer’s data.

Security experts caution that one should never open an email from an unknown source, even if it is seemingly harmless. While the hackers may be stepping up their game this summer, they certainly won’t earn any medals for it.

Source: The BBC

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