– Virus creators use latest news to attract victims

– Michael Jackson’s death, followed by swine flu and Obama’s presidency were the top three issues used from January to July to distribute viruses via email or through social networks

– Infidelity and how to catch cheating partners are also topics on the rise


Michael Jackson’s death, swine flu and Obama’s political campaign and presidency are the top issues used by hackers in 2009 to distribute viruses via email or through social media such as Twitter or Facebook. Aware of people’s increasing use of the Internet to search for the latest news on social events, virus creators are acting almost like journalists and using recent news as bait to spread viruses.

Issues involving applications for spying on partners on suspecting infidelity are also highly successful. For example, attackers have been offering applications that supposedly allow you to read the SMS messages sent or received on a specific cell phone via the Internet.

You can see some examples of this in Flickr at: https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3574/3788395766_453dee9d10_m.jpg and https://farm4.static.flickr.com/3458/3788395738_812abf7621_m.jpg

PandaLabs has carried out a study of the top issues used from January to July to distribute viruses, with the following results: 

Topic %
Michael Jackson’s death 30%  
H1N1 (swine flu) virus 27%  
Obama’s campaign and presidency 11%  
Software to spy on partners’ SMSs 9%  
Independence Day 8%  
Reuters agency news 5%  
Online shopping discount vouchers 4%  
Valentine’s Day cards 2%  
Farrah Fawcet’s death 2%  
Links to Pussycat Dolls videos 1%  
Other 1%  


One of the most active virus families as of lately is Waledac. Waledac appeared two years ago and is still around using topics like those above. For more information about these techniques, check out: https://www.pandasecurity.com/img/enc/Boletines%20PandaLabs5_en.pdf

Four simple tips to avoid falling victim to these techniques

Usually, once attackers have attracted your attention, they usually redirect you to web pages to view or download something. However, YouTube’s official website, for example, does not require you to download a codec to watch videos. If you are taken to a Web page that looks exactly the same as a legitimate one, such as YouTube, for example, make sure that the URL displayed in the address bar is the official one. 

If you don’t know what the official address is, find it out by performing a search in any of the search engines that you normally use. Generally, the first result corresponds to the official site.

You can use security software to avoid carrying out these checks manually.

If you do not have a solution that provides this service and do not know whether the Web page accessed is dubious, you can still prevent your computer from being infected. Remember that you must agree to the file download for the malicious code to download and install on the systemr. Finally, scan every file with a security solution before running it.

About PandaLabs
Since 1990, its mission has been to detect and eliminate new threats as rapidly as possible to offer our clients maximum security. To do so, PandaLabs has an innovative automated system that analyzes and classifies thousands of new samples a day and returns automatic verdicts (malware or goodware). This system is the basis of collective intelligence, Panda Security’s new security model which can even detect malware that has evaded other security solutions.

Currently, 99,4% of malware detected by PandaLabs is analyzed through this system of collective intelligence. This is complemented through the work of several teams, each specialized in a specific type of malware (viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware, phishing, spam, etc), who work 24/7 to provide global coverage. This translates into more secure, simpler and more resource-friendly solutions for clients.

More information is available in the PandaLabs blog: http://www.pandalabs.com

Related Press Notes:


7/6/2009 . Trojans accounted for 70 percent of the new malware detected during the second quarter of 2009
7/7/2009 . New attack exploits an unpatched Microsoft vulnerability
8/4/2009 . PandaLabs reveals exponential growth in Rogueware; gets one step closer to finding criminals responsible
For more information:International Communication
E-mail: communication@pandasecurity.com
Phone Number:  + 34 91 806 37 00
Fax: + 34 91 806 37 00
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Fax: + 34 91 804 35 29

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