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US-CERT Cautions Internet Users of Swine Flu E-mail

In the tune of several other security researchers, US Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) has also reported of spammers and phishers exploiting the global fear of Swine Flu in order to sell pharma products as well as to steal sensitive details of worried Internet users.

This recent phishing/spamming attack involves an unknown e-mail that contains a tag line relating to Swine Flu. According to security experts, the purpose of using subject line related to the flu is because any reference to the current affairs yields better results.

The security researchers believe that spammers/phishers are adopting this technique of social engineering as seeing the current news as e-mail's title increases the probability of recipient opening the spam/phishing e-mail.

Furthermore, these e-mails may contain an attachment or a malicious link. In case the recipient opens the attachment or clicks the link, his system may get infected with a malicious code or he may be forwarded to a phishing site.

Besides, fraudsters are not giving up a single opportunity to dodge people of their confidential details. They are sending spam e-mails including the rumors of celebrities getting infected with swine flu. For instance, e-mails with provoking subject lines like "Salma Hayek caught swine flu!" are currently under wide distribution.

Meanwhile, US-CERT has advised people not to click or open unsolicited attachments or links to avoid falling victim of these phishing scams. In case the source of e-mail is suspected, users should not open it. Additionally, they should regularly update their anti-virus software.

Apart from this, security firm F-Secure has reported that dozens of fresh domain names related to swine flu have been registered recently, like swineflureport.com and swineflurelief.com. The firm has stated that these sites are giving measures to safeguard the people from the flu. According to security experts, fraudsters hardly waste a minute to exploit such hot topics in an attempt to make a quick profit.

Here it is interesting to note that in 2008, after the havoc played by hurricanes Hanna and Gustav, several fake domain names related to hurricanes were registered that tried to trick people into donating generously towards fake charity funds.

Related article: US Passes Baton to Asia in Spam Relay

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