Message Labs detects Olympics spam

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E-mail service provider Message Labs has reported an outbreak in Olympic-related spam.

Thirteen separate Olympic-themed attacks have been intercepted by MessageLabs, targeted at businesses across several different data-rich industries and regions and including such subject lines as “The Beijing 2008 Torch Relay” and “National Olympic Committee and Ticket Sales Agents.”

“The Olympics is topical and newsworthy and as such is perfect for socially engineered targeted attacks as it contains content with which the recipient would identify,” said Mark Sunner, Chief Security Analyst at MessageLabs.

The spam claims to come from the International Olympic Committee, based in Switzerland, but most of the e-mails are being sent from IP addresses in Asia. The malware is contained in Microsoft Office Database (MDB) files, usually hidden within a ZIP file. Once the MDB file has been downloaded it will drop an EXE file to the recipient's hard drive and steal data. 

To deal with the issue, Sunner said, “e-mail marketers should ensure their defenses are armed against this new and fast-growing trend of attacks.”

He added, “Consumers should be increasingly wary of what they are receiving in e-mail and should never click on links or open attachments that they are not expecting to receive or from recipients whom they do not know.

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