Hackers resort to 'sick' kidnap spam

E-mails asking for $50,000 ransom contain an attachment supposed to be photograph of kidnapped child but is actually a Trojan horse

Hackers are claiming they have kidnapped children in a bid to infect PCs with a Trojan Horse virus, says Sophos.

The security firm is warning users that e-mails entitled "We have hijacked your baby" are being sent to Web users around the globe. As well as asking for a $50,000 ransom for the "release" of the child, the messages also contain an attachment supposed to be a photograph of the child. Instead the file actually contains a Trojan horse that will steal personal information.

[ Learn how to secure your systems with Roger Grimes' Security Adviser blog and , both from InfoWorld. ]

"Receiving or reading these widespread emails themselves does not mean you are infected, but if users open the attachment they will be infecting their Windows computer, they will give hackers an open door to take control and steal information," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

"There's no other way of putting it -- this attack is sick. Hackers have no qualms about exploiting a family's natural instinct to defend its most vulnerable members," added Cluley.

PC Advisor is an InfoWorld affiliate.

This story, "Hackers resort to 'sick' kidnap spam" was originally published by PC Advisor (UK).