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[ISN] Cyber thieves piggyback off Stratfor breach, target feds
By Aliya Sternstein
Hackers posing as officials from the geopolitical analysis publisher
Stratfor are emailing infected links to government subscribers whose
email addresses were stolen during an earlier raid on the company's
computers, Microsoft researchers say.
To expose the ruse, Stratfor has instituted a temporary no-link policy
for all official emails, according to a notice on the company's website.
The policy is fallout from the Christmas Day 2011 data breach, when
hacker collective Anonymous claimed responsibility for exposing the
credit card data and email addresses of federal personnel. Potentially
more than 860,000 public and private sector subscribers to Stratfor's
online analysis were affected.
Now, cyber crooks are taking financial advantage of the addresses,
according to Microsoft research published Monday. The bad guys are
employing social engineering to trick Stratfor subscribers into visiting
malicious websites. Their messages, which were written on apparent
Stratfor letterhead and captured by Microsoft, state, "we strongly
discourage you to open emails and attachments from doubtful senders" and
"we also warn you about the distribution of harmful software through our
website." The messages then direct readers to download software that
will infect their computers.
In reality, if wary subscribers ignore the messages and go to the
company's website they will see alerts discrediting the senders of these
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