The Pope Falls Victim to Vicious Malware Attacks

By Ashley Caputo March 21, 2013

Just a few weeks ago, there was a strange hack of Burger King’s and Jeep’s Twitter accounts that published messages aimed at damaging the companies’ credibility. Now, hackers have taken this act of defamatory once step further by hacking former Secretary of State, Collin Powell’s, Facebook page where images stolen from the Busy family e-mail last week were reposted, and even more messages were published that insulted the family.

However, a malware and phishing attack that involved the newly elected Pope has taken this issue to unimaginable levels and has upset religious communities all around the world.

Commtouch, a provider of Internet security technology and cloud-based services, found a drive-by malware campaign that masks a fake CNN breaking news alert about the Pope, with subject lines that read:

  • Opinion: Family sued new Pope. Exclusive!
  • Opinion: New Pope tries to shake off the past
  • Opinion: Can New-Pope Benedict be Sued for the Sex Abuse Cases?

Not only are these titles defamatory, they also have the ability to cause the Pope problems with the law, along with religious followers around the world. Although these accusations are lies, upon first glance users are unaware of this and, similar to the elementary game of ‘Telephone” (where people sit in a circle and one person whispers a message to the next person, who whispers it to the next, and finally the last person reveals the message to see how much it changed), could quickly spiral out of control.

This malware threat does not come as a surprise, as Nominum recently identified the top 10 cyber threats for fixed broadband networks, which included Ngrbot/dorkbot , Spybot, Ramnit and Spambot. These cyberbots have grown resistance and efficiency in their threats by registering new domain names, mobbing their operations to other servers, including the cloud and creating fake contact phone numbers as a new way to steal consumers’ sensitive information, as more users tend to trust a “living” customer service representative than a questionable website’s informational questionnaire.

Commtouch labs are currently trying to track down the distributor of the recent Pope-related spam and malware renegades. However, without updated privacy laws to protect users against these attacks, there is no proper way to legally go after these distributors. If this recent attack on the Pope’s reputation does anything, it reiterates the need for a proper legislation to be created and funds for such technology to pursue these attackers.




Edited by Rachel Ramsey

TechZone360 Web Editor

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