Cybercriminals Exploit Boston Bombings in Malware Email Campaign

Users should be cautious when receiving emails about "breaking news" or "exclusive videos" as additional email attacks are likely

Apr 18, 2013, 08:00 ET from Commtouch

MCLEAN, Virginia, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Commtouch® (NASDAQ: CTCH), a leading provider of Internet security technology and cloud-based services, warns that cybercriminals have begun exploiting Monday's terrorist attacks on the 2013 Boston Marathon in malware email campaigns discovered by Commtouch's research labs. The first emails were identified on April 16 around 6 p.m. EDT, about 27 hours after the attacks.

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The emails have subject lines such as "BREAKING - Boston Marathon Explosion," "Explosion at Boston Marathon," "Boston Explosion Caught on Video" and "Video of Explosion at the Boston Marathon 2013." The email body contains no text but only a link consisting of an IP address and an HTML document with the names "boston.html" or "news.html."

When clicked on, the user is directed to a Web page which contains actual YouTube videos from the incident. However, the site contains something else as well: an iframe leading to malicious Java code which is activated when the site in opened in the browser. In this way, the cybercriminals can automatically load malware onto the user's computer without the user actually noticing this.

The campaign is following a familiar pattern: cybercriminals are exploiting the public interest in current news stories to lure unsuspecting users to infected sites. Last month, events like the election of the new pope were used in this way.

Commtouch warns that this is likely the first of various attempts by cybercriminals to profit from the huge public interest in the Boston attacks. Users are advised to be very cautious when receiving email allegedly linking to breaking news stories or "exclusive" video. The safest option is always to go to trusted news sites directly when looking for news reports or videos.

Commtouch and its Internet Threat Analysis Team identify threats using Commtouch's GlobalView™ Cloud, which analyzes more than 12 billion transactions every day at a rate of more than 138,000 a second.

About Commtouch

Commtouch® (NASDAQ: CTCH) is a leading provider of Internet security technology and cloud-based services for vendors and service providers, increasing the value and profitability of our customers' solutions by protecting billions of Internet transactions on a daily basis. With 12 global data centers and award-winning, patented technology, Commtouch's email, Web, and antivirus capabilities easily integrate into our customers' products and solutions, keeping safe more than 350 million end users. To learn more, visit

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Company Contact: Brian Briggs, Chief Financial Officer Commtouch +1-703-760-3444 U.S. Investor Contact: Christopher Chu Grayling +1-646-284-9400 Israel Investor Relations Contact: Iris Lubitch EffectiveIR +972-3-5664007 Commtouch Media Contact: Matthew Zintel Zintel Public Relations +1-281-444-1590

SOURCE Commtouch