Racist spam attack hits Germany

Spam emails with racist messages flooded computers in Germany on Thursday

German residents have been targeted by a flood of racist emails.

The emails, sent by computers infected with the Sober.G virus, contained racist messages and links to right-wing Web sites, according to German press reports.

Sober.G is a mass-mailing worm that sends itself to email addresses harvested from each infected computer. First detected in May this year it has been most active in the UK, Germany and the Netherlands, according to MessageLabs.

The email deluge started just after 2 a.m. on Thursday morning in Germany. The majority of emails came from a computer at the University of Rostock and have been traced to the IP address of one student, although there is no indication so far that any employee or student of Rostock University was involved.

This is thought to be the first time that right-wing extremists have used wide-scale spamming to reach their audience. The emails included stories about the alleged criminality of foreigners and their abuse of the German health and social welfare system, which has led to suggestions that the European elections may have been the trigger for the spam attack.

The German police are currently investigating the attack. According to the German news site Heise Online, a message from the worm author was found in a text file created by the Sober.G virus. This message was signed off by 'Odin' - a god of Nordic mythology. Right-wing groups in Germany have been known to refer to Nordic mythology in the past.