Hoax Virus Claims Bin Laden Dead, Schwarzenegger Terminated

Tens of thousands of the messages were posted to Usenet newsgroups beginning Friday, and included links to a Web site where a file could be downloaded. The fake Bin Laden message promised photos taken by CNN of Public Enemy #1's hanged body, while the phony Schwarzenegger message claimed it linked to the California governor's suicide note.

In reality, both links led to Hackarmy, a Trojan first discovered in December, 2003. The Trojan installs a backdoor through which hackers can grab control of Windows systems.

"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, in a statement. "It seems this time that the hacker has focused on the public's morbid curiosity."

Neither message has been seeded into the general Internet population via e-mail, but security experts warned users to be on the alert for suspicious messages, since the same trick could easily be spammed.

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Bin Laden and Schwarzenegger aren't the only celebrities to be used as malware bait. Previous lures have relied on the public's curiosity with the likes of Anna Kournikova, Jennifer Lopez, and Britney Spears to infect computers.

This story courtesy of TechWeb .