Update 27 /1/ 05
Christopher Pierson, of Ruskington Lincolnshire – Photo BBC Lincolnshire
BBC Lincolnshire Video - Streaming
Man jailed over tsunami e-mails
A man who sent out hoax e-mails falsely telling people their holidaying relatives had been killed by the Asian tsunami has been jailed for six months.
Christopher Pierson, 40, from Ruskington, Lincs, sent 35 e-mails after seeing pleas for information on the Sky News website.
BBC Lincolnshire 24 /1/ 05
4Law - A
Matthew Z. Schmieder
Fake tsunami plea spreads virus
Hackers use the subject line "Tsunami donation! Please
help!" to infect computers with worm.
17 January 2005
Tsunami disaster donation plea is really a virus, Sophos reports
Virus experts at Sophos have
discovered a mass-mailing worm that poses as a plea for donations to help with
The W32/VBSun-A worm spreads via email, tempting innocent users into clicking onto its malicious attachment by pretending to be information about how to donate to a tsunami relief effort. However, running the attached file will not only forward the virus to other internet users but can also initiate a denial-of-service attack against a German hacking website.
The email sent by the VBSun-A worm.
Emails sent by the worm have the following characteristics:
Tsunami Donation! Please help!
Please help us with your donation and view the attachment below! We need you!
"Duping innocent users into believing that they may be helping the tsunami disaster aid efforts shows hackers stooping to a new low," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "This gruesome insensitivity is a despicable ploy to get curious computer users to run malicious code on their computers. Everyone should be wary of unsolicited email attachments, and visit the established charity websites instead if they wish to assist those suffering as a result of the disaster."
W32/VBSun-A is not the first virus to try and take advantage of the tsunami disaster in an attempt to spread. The VBS/Geven-B worm tried to spread a sick message earlier this month that the tsunami was God's revenge on "people who did bad on earth". There have also been a number of email scams distributed by criminals posing as victims in an attempt to steal money.
Although there have only been a small number of reports of the W32/VBSun-A worm, Sophos recommends computer users ensure their anti-virus software is up-to-date, and that companies protect themselves with a consolidated solution which can defend them from the threats of both spam and viruses.
THE HOAXER'S EMAIL
Christopher Pierson sent a hoax email to 35 people who posted their details at Sky News Online telling them their loved ones caught up in the tsunami disaster were dead.
The hoax email, which purported to
be from the "Foreign Office Bureau" in
This is the email he penned:
Following your enquiry for information on the people you named on the Sky message board, it is with deep regret that from information from our embassy staff, ALL the named people in your enquiry have been confirmed as deceased.
For more assistance of help please do not hesitate to call the foreign office embassy help line that has been issued, there are many more lines now available.
We are very sorry to have to
confirm this news. Further information as to returning to the
Unfortunately, it is thought after careful investigation that the British figures for those who have died will exceed 3,200 which is one of the main reasons for the delay in informing all those who are enquiring. There is currently a news 'hold' on these figures.
Next of kin will be informed officially within the next 48 hours.
Foreign office bureau,
source : sky.com
Top Page of the Messages
source : sky.com
source : the sun