-- Ballots aren't the only thing Barack Obama is claiming the majority of this week. Just one day after the Democrat's presidential win, his likeness is popping up on 60 percent of all malware sent across the Internet, one security firm reports.
Sophos says Obama-themed spam attacks have been surging ever since Tuesday night's victory. One e-mailed message currently being tracked poses as a news alert and offers a link to an official "election results news page."
Following the link takes you to an authentic-looking site with the name "America.gov" and what appears to be a series of legitimate news stories. After a few seconds, though, the site asks you to install an Adobe Flash update in order to proceed with video viewing. Don't do it -- the download will actually just install some dangerous data-stealing software onto your system.
Virus En Espanol
A separate threat discovered by Websense operates in a similar fashion: An e-mail appearing to come from a Spanish news organization presents what looks to be an embedded video interview with Obama's advisors.
Clicking the video box links you to a file called "BarackObama.exe." Once executed, the file will install a Trojan and set up a direct phishing link between your system and the host machines. Perhaps most dangerously, Websense says some of the major antivirus platforms are failing to detect the virus before the damage is done.
At the same time, analysts are watching for a wave of Internet-based scams related to the collapse of the Icesave bank. The British institution was declared in default last month. Now, the U.K. government has announced plans to e-mail customers with information on how they can claim their money -- and plenty of forged and malicious impersonators are expected.
As always, the best line of protection against any of these attacks is to avoid clicking links in e-mails and to delete any suspicious-looking messages without opening them. If you want official information, go directly to the official Web site yourself and avoiding taking any chances.