Experts at Sophos have warned computer users that a file posing as photographic evidence that Osama Bin Laden has killed himself is in fact infected by the Hackarmy Trojan horse.
Thousands of messages have been posted onto internet message boards and usenet newsgroups claiming that journalists from CNN found the terrorist leader’s hanged body earlier this week, but that the photographs have not been officially made public as the U.S. wishes to verify it is Bin Laden.
The messages point to a Web site where a file can be downloaded, purporting to contain photographs.
In reality, the file contains a Trojan horse that can allow hackers to gain remote control of an innocent computer.
A typical message reads as follows:
“Osama Bin Ladin was found hanged by two CNN journalists early Wednesday evening. As evidence they took several photos, some of which I have included here. As yet, this information has not hit the headlines due to Bush wanting confirmation of his identity but the journalists have released some early photos over the internet.”
“Hackers and virus writers will try all kinds of tricks to entice people into downloading their malicious code,” said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.
“It seems this time that the hacker has focused on the public’s morbid curiosity and appetite for news on the war against terror.”
Sophos continues to recommend that computer users practice safe computing as well as running up-to-date anti-virus software.