A worm posing as several fake breaking news stories, including the death of US president George W Bush, has been spammed to email recipients in a worldwide campaign, it was reported today.

On the day when the Republican administration faced disappointing results in the US mid-term elections, the Dref-N worm attaches itself to emails with subject lines such as ‘White House news' and ‘Incredible news', and attempts to entice email users into clicking on a malicious attachment, claiming to include details of a major news story.

It's reported that the email contains text claiming that president George W Bush is dead and urges people to read the infected file for further details, but it actually disables the Windows firewall and allows hackers to access the innocent user's computer.

Other false stories include the outbreak of a nuclear war and the assassination of the Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos said: "While many of these news hooks sound implausible, it's amazing how many users still allow temptation to get the better of them, and click on the file.

"Users think that they are receiving these emails from their friends, family and colleagues, but in fact it's a worm that has infected the sender's computer and distributed the message.

"If you suspect there's a breaking news story, turn on the TV or visit [a] news website to see if it has any basis in truth."