Trojan Horse lurks in World Cup tournament e-mail

German criminal investigators warn of a Trojan horse in e-mail offering information about the World Cup game plan.

German fans have been complaining for sometime about a bug in their underperforming national soccer team ahead of the World Cup soccer tournament, which begins next month in the country. Now they're having to worry about a bug of a different kind, a Trojan horse, which is masquerading in a downloadable tournament game plan.

The Baden-Wurttemberg State Bureau of Criminal Investigation (LKA) warned on Wednesday of an e-mail with a link to a self-extracting Excel file that claims to contain the game plan for the soccer tournament. The German-language e-mail contains the message "Fussball Weltmeisterschaft 2006 in Deutschland" (2006 World Cup Soccer Tournament in Germany) and the link "googlebook.exe."

When clicked, the link will install a Trojan horse on users PCs, according to LKA.

The agency has informed Germany's Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and, because the Trojan horse appears to have originated from a server in the U.S., the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as well.

LKA officials were unable to say whether an English-language version of the spam e-mail with the googlebook.exe is making the rounds.

The Trojan horse on the loose in Germany isn't the first attempt to trick World Cup soccer fans, nor is it expected to be the last to take advantage of an event of global interest.

Last year, the world's governing soccer body, FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), warned fans and others that its name was being abused in a global phishing scam.

Several lottery companies had sent unsolicited, official-looking e-mail around the globe, announcing that recipients had won a lottery and requesting personal data, including bank account information, for them to claim the prize money. The lotteries claimed to be organized on behalf of, or in association with, FIFA as well as the German organizers of the World Cup and their South African counterparts for the 2010 games.

Moreover, security experts including Mikko HyppA¶nen, chief research officer for antivirus research at F-Secure Corp., are concerned that the soccer tournament in Germany could also be fertile ground for mobile phone viruses if last year's World Athletics Championships in Finland, are any indication.

Visitors to the athletic event in Helsinki not only had to brave wind and rain, but also face the threat of catching the Cabir mobile phone worm, which first surfaced in June 2004.

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