Virus infected computers send racist German spam in run-up to European elections, reports Sophos Run-Up To European Elections, Reports Sophos

Internet users in Germany and elsewhere around the world have been bombarded with a barrage of racist emails. The messages, which promote right-wing groups in the run-up to the European elections this weekend, appear to be being sent from computers compromised by the widespread Sober-G worm (W32/Sober-G).

Some of the spam emails pretend to come from respectable German news outlets, such as Der Spiegel, but contain racist messages such as ‘What Germany needs are German children’ and ‘Asylum-seeker tortures animals to death’.

“Whether this flood of racist email is coming from right-wing extremists, or those who wish to discredit right-wing parties in the run-up to the elections is unclear,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Whoever is responsible for this spam attack is breaking the law – using computers which have been virus infected to spread their offensive messages. All computer users should ensure their systems are properly protected against viruses and hackers to prevent this kind of abuse.”

Sober-G is a mass-mailing worm which sends itself to email addresses harvested from an infected computer. It has hit German users particularly hard because it can send itself using German language, as sell as the English language usually used by viruses.

“If your computer was infected by the Sober-G worm then you could unwittingly be part of the problem – unknown to you, your computer may be sending out racist messages on the spammers’ behalf. This is further evidence that spammers and virus writers are working closely with each other,” continued Cluley.

Computer crime authorities in Germany scored a success last month with the arrest of a teenager – Sven Jaschan – in connection with the Sasser worm.

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