Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 1:20 EDT

Cybercriminals Exploit Boston Bombings in Malware Email Campaign

April 18, 2013

Users should be cautious when receiving emails about “breaking news” or “exclusive videos” as additional email attacks are likely

MCLEAN, Virginia, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ –

Commtouch(R) (NASDAQ: CTCH), a leading provider of Internet security technology and
cloud-based services, warns that cybercriminals have begun exploiting Monday’s terrorist
attacks on the 2013 Boston Marathon in malware email campaigns discovered by Commtouch’s
research labs. The first emails were identified on April 16 around 6 p.m. EDT, about 27
hours after the attacks.

http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120501/529254 )

The emails have subject lines such as “BREAKING – Boston Marathon Explosion,”
“Explosion at Boston Marathon,” “Boston Explosion Caught on Video” and “Video of Explosion
at the Boston Marathon 2013.” The email body contains no text but only a link consisting
of an IP address and an HTML document with the names “boston.html” or “news.html.”

When clicked on, the user is directed to a Web page which contains actual YouTube
videos from the incident. However, the site contains something else as well: an iframe
leading to malicious Java code which is activated when the site in opened in the browser.
In this way, the cybercriminals can automatically load malware onto the user’s computer
without the user actually noticing this.

The campaign is following a familiar pattern: cybercriminals are exploiting the public
interest in current news stories to lure unsuspecting users to infected sites. Last month,
events like the election of the new pope were used in this way.

Commtouch warns that this is likely the first of various attempts by cybercriminals to
profit from the huge public interest in the Boston attacks. Users are advised to be very
cautious when receiving email allegedly linking to breaking news stories or “exclusive”
video. The safest option is always to go to trusted news sites directly when looking for
news reports or videos.

Commtouch and its Internet Threat Analysis Team identify threats using Commtouch’s
GlobalView(TM) Cloud [http://www.commtouch.com/cloud ], which analyzes more than 12
billion transactions every day at a rate of more than 138,000 a second.

About Commtouch

Commtouch(R) (NASDAQ: CTCH) is a leading provider of Internet security technology and
cloud-based services for vendors and service providers, increasing the value and
profitability of our customers’ solutions by protecting billions of Internet transactions
on a daily basis. With 12 global data centers and award-winning, patented technology,
Commtouch’s email, Web, and antivirus capabilities easily integrate into our customers’
products and solutions, keeping safe more than 350 million end users. To learn more, visit


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Recurrent Pattern Detection, RPD, Zero-Hour and GlobalView are trademarks, and
Commtouch is a registered trademark of Commtouch. U.S. Patent No. 6,330,590 is owned by
Commtouch. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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SOURCE Commtouch

Source: PR Newswire