Fake Pope story is bait in unholy malware scam

A fake news story that claims to offer shocking information about newly-appointed Pope Francis is making the rounds via e-mail.

Courtesy ABC News

Courtesy ABC News

Pope Francis

Courtesy ABC News

Spammers are using the resignation of Benedict XVI and the election of a new pope as an opportunity to spread malware.

Clicking on the fake story leads users to a website that hosts the Blackhole Exploit Kit, according to reports from Yahoo! Finance, cyber-security companies Symantec and Commtouch and others. The Blackhole Exploit Kit can be used to deliver various types of malware.

The spam e-mails have reportedly come from a fake sender email address named “CNN Breaking News.” Reported subject lines in the e-mail include:
• 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?
• Opinion: New Pope, Vatican officials sued over alleged sexual abuse!
• Opinion: New Pope Sued For Not Wearing Seat Belt In Popemobile…

Better Business Bureau warns consumers not to click the link. If you receive this e-mail, delete it without clicking any links. If you have already clicked a link in a similar e-mail, run an antivirus software program to find and delete the malware.

BBB reminds consumers to be wary of any e-mails from unknown senders, or suspicious e-mails from people you know. Here are a few tips to help avoid malware, spyware and phishing (attempts to steal your personal information via email):

Never reply to an email that asks for personal information. Even if the e-mail appears to be from a trusted source, this may be a phishing attack, where someone is trying to illegitimately obtain your personal or financial information. Delete the e-mail immediately.

Do not click on any links from unfamiliar sources. This may be a phishing attack, where someone is trying to redirect you to a website that may infect your computer with malicious code. If you really want to check out a link sent to you by email, research the company or individual first to confirm they are trustworthy. If so, then manually retype the link into a secure web browser.

Keep anti-spyware, anti-virus and anti-spam software up to date. While consumers are ultimately responsible for keeping personal and financial information private, these technologies are designed to help keep phishing attacks at a minimum.

– courtesy of Austin BBB


1 Comment

Filed under News You Can Trust

One response to “Fake Pope story is bait in unholy malware scam

  1. Mark Burrows

    I am not a Catholic. Still, I a respectful of all orders of religion and the right to believe in the faith of your choice. Not only is it disrespectful, but it is also immoral for you, me, or anyone to make judgements on any person of such high standing. Are we not taught as Christians that God is a forgiving God and that Christ died on the cross for our sins and misgivings? I am no bible thumper, but I think the message is not meant to be suggested that it’s all right to go out and do as we please and then go to church on Sunday and ask for forgiveness and your slate will be wiped clean. No, because if you go with that attitude, then you are bearing false witness before God.
    Now that I have gotten the religious rhetoric out of the way, just simple moral conscience should tell you that opinions are simply just something that came out of someone’s mouth that you can either digest or throw away. It is not the factual truth about anything. Opinion can have wisdom, but more often than not, it is just trash. Such emails read more like those famous British tabloids, even a few have made it across the pond to North America to set up shop, that spout about Siamese twins, one good and one evil, or alien babies being born to human mothers. One would have to be extremely gullible and ignorant to believe them.

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