Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Chicago Suburb Police Warn of Death Threat Spam

And the "Botnets" who control the world's spam...

Police in the northwestern suburb of Chicago in Arlington Heights are warning residents of a new kind of spam on the internet, death threats via email.

The spam emails demand money, sums of either $15,000 or $20,000, or the recipients will face death.

According to the police, if the recipient responds to the email the sender would be able to acquire the IP protocol address which would "jeopardize" the spam victim's banking and credit info.

Investigator Chuck Buczynski said there was no need for concern, that the email was "spam" and to not open it.

Spam is known as junk mail sent to people's email addresses on the web. According to the New Zealand Herald, 85% of the world's spam is controlled by a groups of botnets:

Marshal's TRACE team, which monitors spam, phishing and virus activity around the world, has identified the six botnets that it says are sending the bulk of spam.

Botnets are virtual networks of private computers that are secretly controlled and used to distribute malware or viruses to other machines. Owners of such infected machines are almost never aware their computers are being used maliciously.One botnetwork, known as Mega-D, is alleged to have 35,000 machines under its control.

A recent spate of emails pretending to be from the Department of Justice have resurfaced from last summer:
The latest batch contains an image from the DoJ website, which contributes to its apparent legitimacy, Masiello said. The spoofed emails also contain a keylogger that once downloaded onto a recipient's computer, collects personal information, such as the user's bank account numbers and passwords.

Similar-style attacks should continue as tax rebate checks begin arriving, Masiello said. "As the tax rebates begin arriving in the May/June timeframe, we'll likely see additional spoofs apparently from the government." Source - SC Magazine

Arlington Heights is an affluent village which lies 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago with a population close to 180,000 residents. To date only 3 recipients have reported receiving the extortionist spam.


Image - Boles
Source - Chicago Tribune
Source - Wiki
Source - New Zealand Herald


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