Virus purporting bin Laden suicide hits Web
Virus designed to lure readers into opening a file
Saturday, July 24, 2004 Posted: 0931 GMT (1731 HKT)
SEATTLE, Washington (Reuters) -- A virus purporting to show images of Osama Bin Laden's suicide has popped up on the Internet, designed to entice
recipients to open a file that unleashes malicious software code, security experts said.
The virus was attached to a message that was posted on over 30,000 usenet newsgroups and is not being spread via e-mail, said Web security vendor
Sophos on Friday.
The U.S. government has been hunting for Bin Laden since 2001, holding him responsible for masterminding the attacks on the World Trade Center and
Pentagon on September 11, 2001, but he has not yet been found.
Chris Kraft, senior security analyst at Sophos, said the message and virus was designed to lure unsuspecting readers into opening a file, similar to
the Anna Kournikova virus that enticed readers to open a file that unleashed malicious software code.
"If you don't know the person or the origin of a message, you shouldn't be opening it," Kraft said.
The fake Bin Laden suicide file, when opened, unleashes a program called a Trojan horse that makes it possible for attackers to take over infected
personal computers running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system.
Kraft said the virus itself had already appeared on the Internet before, but the virus writer had apparently repackaged it by saying it contained Bin
Laden's suicide photos.