21/10/2011 09:01 BST | Updated 21/12/2011 05:12 GMT

Global Computer Virus Hides In Photos Of Gaddafi's Death

A global computer virus that hides in an email about Gaddafi's death has been detected by internet security firm Sophos. The malware was caught in its worldwide network of spam traps.

The scam appears to be an official email from newswire service AFP with images of Gaddafi's body but when users open the attachment, the virus infects Windows computers with malware.

A detected malicious email reads:

Subject: "Fw: AFP Photo News: Bloody Photos: Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi's Death"

Message body:

"Libya dictator Moammar Gadhafi's Death

Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the most wanted man in the world, has been killed, the country's rebel government claimed Oct. 20. The flamboyant tyrant who terrorized his country and much of the world during his 42 years of despotic rule was cornered by insurgents in the town of Sirte, where Gadhafi had been born and a stronghold of his supporters."

"The death of Libyan dictator Colonel Gaddafi has almost inevitably resulted in cybercriminals taking advantage of the news story, and the general public's seeming interest in viewing ghoulish photos and videos of his last moments," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos.

"As unlikely as the legitimacy of these emails may seem - in this case, the latest photos being forwarded to you in an email attachment - the news is often just too interesting for people to ignore. Internet users need to be sensible when it comes to a top news story, and not throw their security suspicions regarding links and unsolicited attachments out the window, in search of the latest revelations or shocking images."

PC users are advised to avoid opening the email and updating or applying their security settings.