Security Labs


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Malicious spam with news on Osama Bin Laden


Threat Type: Malicious Web Site / Malicious Code

Websense® Security Labs™ ThreatSeeker™ Network has discovered a substantial number of spam messages utilizing a social engineering tactic that lures users to download malicious software.

It is interesting to note and observe how quickly spammers react to the latest major online news updates, capitalizing on these events to achieve better success rates with their social engineering tactics. The recent media coverage discussing Osama Bin Laden seem to have prompted spammers to quickly recycle an old spam campaign.

The intercepted emails typically look like the following:

The messages include a link to a compromised site which contains an obfuscated JavaScript that tries to exploit a rather old vulnerability corresponding to Microsoft Data Access Component (MDAC). Here is the part of the de-obfuscated exploit code:

Regardless of whether the exploit succeeds or fails, the visitor is then redirected to a page showing a fake security warning encouraging users to download anti-spyware tools to repair their system. Spammers usually use this tactic to encourage users to install rogue applications. In this particular example, the malicious file installs itself as a service on the system.

Screenshot 1:

Screenshot 2:

We have seen the same malicious executable used throughout different spam campaigns bearing following email subjects lines:

Jennifer Aniston Interesting mp3!!!
Clara Morgane Shocking photo!!!
Kylie Minogue Interesting video without cowards!!!
Demi Moore New sexy songs!!!
Avril Lavigne Shocking porno dvd!!!
Nicole Richie Kick-up cd!!!
Beyonce Shocking sexy songs!!!
Keira Knightley Gallery photo!!!
Britney Spears Interesting cd!!!

Websense Messaging and Websense Web Security customers are protected against this attack.