Virus firm Sophos have discovered a mass-mailing worm that poses as a plea for donations to help with the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster. On a statement on its website the company urges email users to be vigilant.
"The W32/VBSun-A worm spreads via email, tempting innocent users into clicking onto its malicious attachment by pretending to be information about how to donate to a tsunami relief effort. However, running the attached file will not only forward the virus to other internet users but can also initiate a denial-of-service attack against a German hacking website."
Emails sent by the worm have the following characteristics:
Tsunami Donation! Please help!
Please help us with your donation and view the attachment below! We need you!
"Duping innocent users into believing that they may be helping the tsunami disaster aid efforts shows hackers stooping to a new low," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.
W32/VBSun-A is not the first virus to try and take advantage of the tsunami disaster in an attempt to spread. The VBS/Geven-B worm tried to spread a sick message earlier this month that the tsunami was God's revenge on "people who did bad on earth". There have also been a number of email scams distributed by criminals posing as victims in an attempt to steal money.
Our advice is to make sure you are upto date with your virus definitions.