Storm Worm virus alert

Given the popular nature of downloading free music and movies, we just wanted to pass along the following security alert from the University’s Information Security Officer regarding the Storm Worm virus:

Today the Storm worm switched to new bait that might prove irresistible for some segments of campus.

The worm arrives in your email inbox as spam, warning that the RIAA is tracking you if you download free movies or music. You are pointed to a link to download Tor, a popular anonymous internet routing implementation. But if you follow the instructions, you infect your machine with the Storm worm. Your machine is then drafted into a network of hacked machines used to crash popular websites and carry out identity theft attacks. Other versions of the scam send the Storm worm as an email attachment rather than send you to the web.

Other Storm worm bait that has hooked victims include: -Bogus email warning that your face is all over YouTube. If you click on the purported YouTube link, you’re asked to first install a video codec (which, in truth, is the Storm worm).

-Bogus email informing you that an account has been created for a free music/movie service. The email includes an account name and a password and instructs you to log on, but first you need to install a (bogus) media player. Same result: Storm worm infection.

-Bogus email forged to look like it’s from Amazon (or EBay, or PayPal, or many large banks) warning you that you have unpaid fees (or that your purchase is (in)complete, or that your information is out of date). If you click on the bogus link and follow the instructions: Storm worm.

-Bogus email announcing that you have an electronic greeting card. Same result as above.

-Bogus email with news announcing “Chinese (or Russian) missile (or satellite) shot down by Russian (or Chinese) satellite (or missile)”

-Bogus email announcing “Saddam Hussein (or Fidel Castro) is alive (or dead).”

All the usual advice applies:

Be wary of unsolicited email asking you to click on links or to install software. If you think it might be legitimate, type the URL into your browser rather than click on the link. Or check it out by calling the organization using a phone number from a service like

Electronic greeting cards are highly suspect these days. If you don’t recognize the sender, hit “delete”. (If it’s a secret admirer, don’t worry, they’ll eventually find you.)

Be wary of email with links to outlandish news stories. If you get email claiming that Jimmy Hoffa’s body was uncovered by a road crew on I-95 below the Commodore Berry, don’t click on the link. Instead, point your browser at your favorite news site.

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