OMG! Madonna Got Swine Flu?


by Ericka Chickowski

Symantec released its monthly State of Spam report late last week, and one list within the report particularly caught my eye. Industrious spammers are taking advantage of recent news reports and public concern about the swine flu to scam people with yet another wave of clever attacks. The following list is Symantec's top 20 swine flu spam subject lines:

1. Jolie caught swine flu

2. Swine flu in NY

3. Madonna caught swine flu

4. America against swine flu

5. Madonna caught swine flu!

6. America against swine flu!

7. Swine flu in USA

8. Salma Hayek caught swine flu!

9. US swine flu statistics

10. NY victims of swine flu

11. Swine flu in Hollywood!

12. Swine flu worldwide!

13. First US swine flu victims!

14. Will swine flu attack USA?

15. Be quick! anti-swine flu drugs are almost sold out

16. US swine flu fears

17. Get swine flu medicine here

18. Order now vaccine against swine flu

19. Prevent infections with swine flu viruses

20. Stop risk of being killed by swine flu!

As amusing as some of these are, many have been effectively honed to take advantage of public paranoia about H1N1 flu in order to prod users into opening malicious links and attachments.

For example, one such message includes a malicious PDF that is supposed to answer questions about swine flu, while another includes a malicious video link and a message in Spanish that states: "Below is a video of the symptoms the patient may present, from when it starts up till when he dies. The following pictures are not suitable for everybody and it is recommended to be seen only by persons under their own criteria."

As usual with these news-related spam campaigns, IT personnel really need to continue educating users about the dangers of clicking links or opening files from unknown senders.


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