Italian Senate Hit By Gay Porn Worm Attack

Sophos, a world leader in protecting businesses against viruses and spam, has reminded organisations to ensure appropriate network security defences are in place as reports of the Italian Senate being disrupted by hackers have appeared in the media.

According to media reports, the upper house of the Italian Senate in Rome ground to a halt as it was hit by one of the many variants of the Rbot worm. The worm allowed hackers to display hardcore homosexual pornography on monitors around the organisation. First noticed on Monday 22 November, computers in the Senate chamber, and every Senator’s office, were said to have been affected by Tuesday morning.

Some have suggested that the security incident may have been in reaction to the recent dismissal of Dario Mattiello, the assistant to the Senate’s Vice President, after photographs were distributed showing him at a gay nightspot in Rome. Last week, gay groups held a sit-down protest outside the Senate building angered by Mattiello’s dismissal.

“Mattiello’s firing has angered some in the gay community, but it’s impossible to say yet if it was the motive for this attack. Whatever their motives, hackers have shown a bare-faced cheek by planting these homosexual images at the heart of Italy’s political establishment,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “Every organisation, big or small, should ensure that they have the proper defences in places to avoid virus and hacker attacks. That includes up-to-date anti-virus defences, properly configured firewalls and deployment of the latest security patches.”

The Rbot family of worms includes backdoor functionality which allows remote hackers to gain access to infected computers, steal information and even – in some cases – monitor computer users via their webcams.

Last month, Rocco Butiglione was rejected as Italy’s candidate for EU Commissioner after describing homosexuality as a sin.

Sophos recommends companies protect their computers with a consolidated solution to thwart the virus and spam threats as well as secure their desktop and servers with automatically updated anti-virus protection.




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