Sophos is warning Internet users to be wary of web sites claiming to host a controversial nude video of high-profile ESPN reporter Erin Andrews. Hackers are using the hype surrounding the hidden camera tape to distribute malware that will infect both PC and Mac computer systems.
The Internet has been abuzz with news that a voyeur had secretly filmed the glamorous US sports reporter through the peephole of her hotel room door. Lawyers working for Andrews said that they will take legal action against anyone distributing the footage, which was taken without her knowledge or consent.
However, opportunists and hackers have been quick to set up web sites claiming to contain the illicit content, in the hope of driving internet traffic to their web sites or infecting innocent victims.
Computer users who visit many of these sites are running the risk of being infected by the OSX/Jahlav-C Trojan horse on Macs, or the Mal/FakeAV-AY Trojan if visiting from a Windows computer.
“Once a hacker has control of your computer they can steal sensitive information and con unsuspecting computer users into paying for bogus online protection,” says Brett Myroff, CEO of regional Sophos distributor, Sophos South Africa.
"Users searching for sleazy videos shouldn’t be surprised if their computers end up corrupted," says Myroff. "These attacks are aimed at both Mac and Windows users – hackers often now try to kill two birds with one stone by setting up malicious pages that can determine what type of computer you are using, and serve up the right malware accordingly."
As the hype continues to escalate online, Sophos notes that hackers have also taken to posting links to the malicious sites in as many places as possible including as comments on blogs written on the subject. Sophos advises that all computer users avoid following untrusted links from blog and news story comments.