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Hackers exploit China earthquake

Hackers have exploited the recent Chinese earthquake tragedy, which has left more than 50,000 dead, to write and distribute malware. The Trojan-infected email attacks follow recent phishing attacks that have also exploited the Sichuan province disaster.

Emails with infected Word attachments carrying a MalDoc-Fam Trojan, now more than a year old, are finding their way into the email inboxes of unsuspecting Internet users. The subject header of these emails pose as news about the earthquate, says Web security firm Sophos (

The virus-infected emails usually appear with body text insinuating they offer news from China's official press agency, Xinhua:

BEIJING, May 20 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from the earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province has risen to 34,074 nationwide as of 2 p.m. Saturday, while 198,347 people were injured, according to the Information Office of the State Council.

Pay attention to attachment for more.Users who open the attached Word document may inadvertently launch an exploit that automatically downloads malware onto vulnerable Windows PCs.

Similar attacks have been made in the past by malware writers following natural disasters, including the London, UK transport suicide bombing attacks and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the Asian tsunami in 2004.

Sophos reported in April that hackers broke into a Welsh government website to upload a malicious JavaScript in an attack that mirrors the vicitimized pages of the Trend Micro website in mid-March.

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