Hackers are deluging web users with malware-laden spam claiming that World War III has started following a US invasion of Iran.
Security experts warned today that spam emails with subject lines including 'Third World War has begun', '20000 US Soldiers in Iran' and 'US Army crossed Iran's borders' have been intercepted.
The emails contain links to a malicious webpage that displays what appears to be a video player showing the mushroom cloud of a nuclear explosion.
Text on the page reads: 'Just now US Army's Delta Force and US Air Force have invaded Iran.
'Approximately 20000 soldiers crossed the border into Iran and broke down the Iran's Army resistance.
'The video made by US soldier was made today morning. Click on the video to see the first minutes of the beginning of World War III. God save us.'
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: "Hackers are taking advantage of the fact that many people today get their fix for breaking news via the internet.
"People, especially those with loved ones in the Middle East, may rush to watch the video without engaging their common sense.
"Everyone should ensure that they keep their antivirus protection up-to-date and never follow links in unsolicited email messages."
The latest round of attacks comes just four days after Storm launched a spam run offering fireworks movies from the 4th of July festivities in the US.
Though the botnet's creators normally try to capitalize on current events and holidays, Storm has made one previous venture into the realm of fiction. In June, the botnet sent out a wave of outrageous news stories in an attempt to infect new users.
Since its first appearance in early 2007, Storm has become one of the most successful social engineering malware campaigns in recent memory.
Rather than rely on browser exploits or covert installs, Storm relies almost exclusively on spam messages and phony web pages which trick the user into manually launching an executable file and setting off the infection.
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