Hackers disguise Trojan horse as Osama Bin Laden suicide photographs, Sophos reports

July 23, 2004 Sophos Press Release

Osama Bin Laden
Computer users who fall for the Bin Laden hoax may be hit by a Trojan horse

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 USA wishes to verify it is Bin Laden.

The messages point to a website where a file can be downloaded, purporting to contain photographs. In reality the file contains a Trojan horse which 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 Wedensday 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..
<url removed>

"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 computer users practise safe computing as well as running up-to-date anti-virus software.