FBI warns of new Storm Worm attacks

E-mails containing the phrase "F.B.I. vs. facebook" contain links leading to malware.

A rash of complaints prompted the FBI to issue a warning of a new round of spam e-mails bombarding the Internet to spread the malicious Storm Worm.

In an announcement today, the FBI and its partner organization, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), said they've received reports of recent spam e-mails spreading the Storm Worm. The e-mails contain the phrase "F.B.I. vs. facebook," according to the warnings, and ask recipients to click on a link to view an article about the FBI and Facebook that then downloads malicious software.

The IC3 posted a similar warning today.

Past Storm Worm distributions have been linked to holiday e-card links where recipients are asked to click on a link to receive a greeting card, the FBI said. By clicking on the enclosed links, users' computers become infected with the virus that then connects them to a Storm Worm botnet that's used to downlaod malware.

Cathy Milhoan, an FBI spokeswoman, said today that the reports on the latest Storm Worm outbreak have been made by consumers to the IC3 Web site, where such reports are collected and investigated. Milhoan said she didn't know how many complaints were received about the latest spam attacks. The FBI urges recipients of such messages to ignore them and to not click on any links embedded within them.

"The spammers spreading this virus are preying on Internet users and making their computers an unwitting part of criminal botnet activity," Richard Kolko, an FBI spokesman, said in a statement. "We urge citizens to help prevent the spread of botnets by becoming web-savvy. Following some simple computer security practices will reduce the risk that their computers will be compromised."

The IC3 was launched eight years ago as a clearinghouse for reports of online fraud and is jointly run by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. It passes on information to law enforcement agencies, and keeps track of trends in cybercrime.

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Todd R. Weiss

Computerworld

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