Sophos is warning computer users about a widely-spammed out email teaser promising a trailer of the film “Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World’s End” – and the chance of free tickets.
The email, which contains the familiar skull-and-crossbones logo of the popular film franchise, appears to have been targeted at movie-goers in Europe and North America.
Rather than a trailer for the blockbuster movie starring Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley and Orlando Bloom, the email has a copy of the Troj/Yar-A Trojan horse attached. If cinema fans run the attached file they are shown a fake error message, and the Trojan horse downloads malicious code from the internet while disabling anti-virus software.
“There is no film preview and there are no free tickets,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. “The only thing that this email is trailing is an attack wave of malicious code against your PC. Once your computer is compromised, hackers will be able to steal information from you with the aim of identity theft and other crimes.”
Sophos notes that this is not the first time that hackers and spammers have used Hollywood movies to try and fool internet users. In the past viruses have posed as Harry Potter movies or the latest chick-flick from Julia Roberts.
“Computer users who don’t take care about what they run on their PC, and believe every email they are sent, could be heading for stormy water,” continued Cluley. “If you want to see the latest Hollywood blockbuster book your ticket at the local cinema rather than clicking on a file sent to you out of the blue.”
Sophos recommends companies protect their desktops, servers and gateways with a consolidated solution to thwart the threats of viruses, spyware, phishing, hackers and spam, as well as controlling which applications are authorised to run on the network.