November 10, 2010

Fake Nobel Peace Prize Invitation Contains Virus

Computer security experts warned that a fake email invitation to this year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony is circulating and carrying a virus capable of infecting the computer of anyone who opens it.

The Contagio Internet security blog reported that the email includes a PDF attachment containing a so-called "Trojan horse," that allows hackers to take control of victims' computers.

"Dear Sir/Madame. I enclose a letter from Oslo Freedom Forum founder Thor Halvorssen inviting you to join him in Oslo for the December 11th (sic) prize ceremony. Let me know if you have any questions," the email reads.

The 2010 Nobel Peace Prize was attributed in October to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo and will be handed over at an official ceremony in Oslo on December 10.

"We don't know who launched the attack, or who the target was," the F-Secure computer security group said on its website.

Aftenposten reported the Nobel Institute director Geir Lundestad has been the target of a cyber attack through an email that appeared to come from a technician at an IT company working for the institute.

The email reportedly contained a link requesting him to type in his user name and password.  However, Lundestad became suspicious and alerted the Norwegian data securities authorities.

"There is someone trying to infect the Nobel Institute," the head of the Norwegian Computer Emergency Response Team, Christophe Birkeland, told the paper.

"There is a lot to indicate that the same person is behind these attacks," he added.

The Nobel Peace Prize website was also the target of a cyber attack two weeks ago, with the last IP address used in that attack belonging to the National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan.

However, there is now way to know if the attack actually came from there because hackers often use many computers to hide their traces.


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