Experts at IT security firm Sophos are warning users about a new email worm that exploits interest in the World Cup to attack computers.
The Sixem-A worm spreads using a variety of disguises, including subject lines such as ‘Naked World Cup game set’, ‘Soccer fans killed five teens’, and ‘Crazy soccer fans’, to try and dupe unsuspecting users into clicking on a malicious attachment.
If the attached file is run, it attempts to disable security software on the infected computer and then spread itself to other email addresses.
“This worm exploits the public’s interest in the World Cup to infect business users. While some recipients might find nude football an attractive prospect, this is one worm you don’t want to catch sight of, as you’ll be playing
straight into the hands of hackers,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “It is very likely that more internet criminals will take advantage of users’ football fever as the tournament heats up – people need to wise up to security threats, or risk scoring an own goal.”
Sophos experts note that this is not the first time hackers have takenadvantage of the World Cup. A year ago, the Sober-N worm offered tickets to the tournament in an attempt to entrap unprotected users, while in 2002, the Chick-F virus tried to exploit workers desperate to find out the latest scores from the World Cup in S Korea/Japan.
In 1998, in the run-up to the World cup competition in France, another football-inspired virus asked infected victims to gamble on who the winner might be, and if the user did not choose the right team triggered a warhead that was capable of wiping all the data off the hard drive.