New computer virus targets Venezuelans after vote
Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez cheer during the ceremony declaring Chavez official winner of Sunday's presidential elections outside the Electoral Council in Caracas, Venezuela on Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012. (AP / Fernando Llano)
Published Saturday, October 13, 2012 1:31PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 13, 2012 2:37PM EDT
CARACAS, Venezuela -- A newly detected computer virus aims to steal Venezuelans' online credentials using a link that purports to reveal information about the country's recent presidential election, the digital security company Kaspersky Lab said on Friday.
The malicious software was launched after Venezuela's Oct. 7 presidential election and was spread by email, said Dmitry Bestuzhev, head of the Moscow-based company's research and analysis team in Latin America.
At least 75 Kaspersky customers came under attack by the malware, and non-customers surely did, too, he said.
Bestuzhev said in a blog post on Friday that the malicious file is named "listas-fraude-electoral.pdf.exe," which translates as "electoral fraud lists" -- a title likely to make some Venezuelans curious after President Hugo Chavez's re-election victory.
He explained by email that computer users received an email message with a link. Once a victim clicked on the link, he said, the person was redirected to a fake website purporting to belong to the Venezuelan television channel Globovision.
"After the click the malicious file was automatically downloaded," Bestuzhev said. However, Kaspersky Lab said its antivirus system successfully blocked each attempt by the malware to infect its customers' computers.
Bestuzhev said the malware allows criminals to steal victims' banking information and also online credentials for those holding accounts with Venezuela's currency agency, known by its Spanish initials CADIVI.
Venezuela's government maintains strict foreign currency exchange controls, and the currency agency provides people who apply with limited amounts of dollars or other currencies for purposes including travel, certain imported goods and overseas tuition payments.
The malware was designed to gain access to Venezuelans' CADIVI accounts to use their allotted dollars, Bestuzhev said.
"Being that this malware is quite simple and also targeting only Venezuelan banks and CADIVI, we can strongly assume that the cybercriminals who produced it are from Venezuela too," he wrote on the blog.
Officials at the government's currency agency and Science and Technology Ministry could not be immediately reached for comment.
Bestuzhev said the malware was detected by was "proactive crawlers," which work like a sort of search engine and are designed to hunt down malicious URLs.