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Malware attack poses as Gaddafi’s death photos

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IT security and data protection company Sophos is warning of a malicious email attack, one of the first to capitalise on the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Graham Cluley, Sophos Senior Technology Consultant (image source: Sophos)

The scam poses as pictures of Gaddafi’s body, tricking users into believing the email comes from the AFP news agency and has been forwarded by a fellow internet user.  In reality, opening the attached file on a Windows computer puts PCs at risk of malware infection.


A typical message is:

Subject: “Fw: AFP Photo News: Bloody Photos: Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s Death”

Message body:

“Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s Death

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the most wanted man in the world, has been killed, the country’s rebel government claimed Oct. 20. The flamboyant tyrant who terrorized his country and much of the world during his 42 years of despotic rule was cornered by insurgents in the town of Sirte, where Gadhafi had been born and a stronghold of his supporters.

“The death of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi has almost inevitably resulted in cybercriminals taking advantage of the news story, and the general public’s seeming interest in viewing ghoulish photos and videos of his last moments,” said Graham Cluley, Sophos Senior Technology Consultant.

“As unlikely as the legitimacy of these emails may seem , in this case, the latest photos being forwarded to you in an email attachment – the news is often just too interesting for people to ignore.  Internet users need to be sensible when it comes to a top news story, and not throw their security suspicions regarding links and unsolicited attachments out the window, in search of the latest revelations or shocking images.”

Bontle Moeng – ITNewsAfrica Online Editor

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