Spammers go down to Georgia

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The UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) Spam Data Mine is showing that the war in Georgia is being used to evade spam filters.

The university detected a mass spam attack of emails, collecting more than 500 in a 90 minute period, carrying a link to a faked BBC story that Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili is homosexual.

“Clicking on the headline or the image, which is really being loaded from the BBC Web site, will take e-mail readers to a virus-laden Web page,” said Gary Warner, UAB Director of Computer Forensics Research.

“The danger is that almost no anti-virus products detected this virus when it began to be distributed this morning. Only 4 of 36 anti-virus products knew that this was a suspicious file in our tests this morning.”

Spamming on current news topic is not new but the rate at which the attacks is foxing anti spam filters is concerning he said.

Several of the servers sending out the spam come from within Russia he said, but this was unlikely to be a government organised attack, despite state servers being used.

“Several of the computers being used to send the new spam campaign are in Russia, including at least one computer owned by the Federal Agency of Education,” Warner said.

“These spam messages serve a dual purpose, a propaganda attack against Georgia, while adding compromised hosts to botnets controlled by pro-Russian individuals”
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