Update 27 /1/ 05



Tsunami email hoaxer jailed for six months




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 Special


FBI Snags Tsunami Scammer Jan. 17, 2005


4Law - A Pittsburgh man arrested by the FBI is the first American to be grabbed for running a tsunami-related scam. Separately, more than 110 tsunami-related phishing schemes have been identified since the disaster struck Dec. 26.




Matthew Z. Schmieder



FBI Affidavit: US v. Matthew Z. Schmieder




U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan






Fake tsunami plea spreads virus

Hackers use the subject line "Tsunami donation! Please help!" to infect computers with worm.
January 17, 2005: 12:27 PM EST

FRANKFURT, Germany (Reuters) - A mass e-mail posing as a plea for aid to help the victims of last month's Asian tsunami disaster is actually a vehicle for spreading a computer virus, Web security firm Sophos said Monday.


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 Indian Ocean tsunami disaster.

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

The email sent by the VBSun-A worm.

Emails sent by the worm have the following characteristics:

Subject line:
Tsunami Donation! Please help!

Message text:
Please help us with your donation and view the attachment below! We need you!

Attachment name:

"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.




Man arrested over hoax tsunami emails - 5/1/05




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 Thailand, was sent from the same bogus email address: ukgovfoffice@aol.com  

This is the email he penned:  

Dear Sir/Madam  

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 UK those who have died will be issued by the Government over the coming weekend.  

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, Thailand.

source : sky.com

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source : sky.com



source : the sun