Global financial crisis brings rise in 'bargain' spam

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Messages promising cash-savings and discounts are becoming an increasingly popular tool for spammers, according to McAfee.

Messages promising cash-savings and discounts are becoming an increasingly popular tool for spammers, according to McAfee.

Researcher Micha Pekrul said that the company's Avert Labs had received reports of a new malware attack which uses the lure of coupons to infect users with a piece of trojan software.

The spam comes in the form of a short message which contains a hyperlink claiming to offer coupon bundles. Upon clicking the link, the user is directed to a page localised for the user's current location which offers thousands of coupons in the form of an executable file.

Rather than receiving coupons, however, the user is instead infected with a selection of malware including a tool which adds the victim's computer to a botnet known as 'Waledac.'

Additionally, the page contains an iFrame tag which attempts to perform a browser exploit to install further malware on unpatched systems.

The attacks follow an economy-minded theme which first arose late last year as the economy took a turn for the worst. As the crisis continues, experts predict that such coupon attacks and 'money mule' scams will only get worse.

"Consumers looking for a bargain should take care, since the bad guys exactly want to fool people trying to save some money these days," wrote Pekrul.

"As a last piece of advice we can only stress again that consumers should always take care with offers that look to good to be true, even more in the hard times of a global economic crisis."

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