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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 July, 2004, 23:36 GMT 00:36 UK
Bin Laden 'suicide' virus on net
Osama Bin Laden
Mystery surrounds the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden
A virus purporting to show images of Osama Bin Laden's suicide has been unleashed onto the internet, security experts are warning.

The virus was attached to a message posted on thousands of Usenet newsgroups, security firm Sophos said.

The message is designed to entice recipients to open a file that unleashes malicious software code.

The founder of al-Qaeda is blamed for a string of attacks, including those of 11 September 2001.

The message claims that Bin Laden's hanged body was found by journalists with TV news channel CNN, and points to a website where a file of images can be downloaded.

But the file contains a Trojan horse program which can secretly install code to enable attackers to gain remote control of a computer, Sophos said.

"Hackers and virus writers will try all kinds of tricks to entice people into downloading their malicious code," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos.

The hacker has focused on the public's morbid curiosity and appetite for news on the war against terror
Security expert

"It seems this time that the hacker has focused on the public's morbid curiosity and appetite for news on the war against terror."

Another analyst at Sophos said the virus had appeared on the web before, but the virus writer had apparently repackaged it.

Experts advise computer owners to ensure they have up-to-date anti-virus software.

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