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The Sober Virus Returns

The Sober Virus Returns
May 17, 2005

A wave of far-right German, political-party propaganda choked millions of e-mail inboxes around the world over the weekend, delivering racist messages along with a dirty payload.

The Sober-Q virus was first spotted Sunday as it quickly crossed the globe, blasting e-mail addresses found on infected PCs. Most of the political rhetoric contained links to news stories and content with approximately 72 varying subject lines, according to security firm MessageLabs.

The payloads quickly turned infected PCs into spam-generating machines, launching the propaganda from thousands of hosts.

The virus, which was sent an estimated 10 million times during the first few days of attacks, has since slowed, and the risks have been downgraded to ''medium'' by most security firms, including McAfee.

Most of the mail contains a single URL directing recipients to a range of online articles in reputable German newspapers and magazines promoting political messages with right-wing tendencies, according to Stephen White, Head of Anti-Spam Technical Operations for MessageLabs.

''This latest attack by the Sober author is comparatively sophisticated and has obviously been well planned,'' White said. ''It appears that previously unexploited networks of machines were infected with earlier incarnations of the Sober worm.''

This article was first published on To read the full article, click here.

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