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Sophos: Vicious spam campaign claims Obama and McCain dead

November 2008 by Sophos

IT security and control firm Sophos is warning users to be wary of a spam campaign using sensationalist subject lines about Barack Obama and John McCain in order to promote an online Canadian pharmacy. The spate of emails, masquerading as breaking news, include subject lines like ‘Barak and McCane killed’, ‘McCane died of heart stroke’ and ‘McCane’s wife private video’, attempting to pique computer users’ interest enough so that they will open the email.

“This sick and twisted campaign shows spammers have no shame in stooping to the lowest levels in an effort to peddle their goods to the public,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. “The subject line is the first thing users see in their inbox – if it’s not of interest, they may not open it – so by using shock tactics and topical news headlines, the spammers are banking on curious users being more likely to open these emails, as opposed to those that simply advertise an online drug store. The incorrect spelling should give this scam away, but computer users should still be vigilant and ensure that they are fully protected against these kinds of damaging and distasteful attacks.”

Sophos recommends that all computer users ensure they are fully defended against attacks, including spam, phishing and malware.

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