Public Warned About Fake Online Charity Post Haiti Earthquake
According to a warning from the FBI, some maliciously minded people are hovering on the Internet to exploit the public's concern regarding those struck with the recent Haitian earthquake. Indeed, security companies are also cautioning people about these criminals and their activities.
States Symantec, the security software firm, that it observed the usual distribution of phishing and spam e-mails within 24-48 hours from the time news spread about the Haiti tragedy. These e-mails ask for donations, money or access to bank account details, the company warns, as per the news published by msnbc.msn.com on January 13, 2010.
Apart from closely monitoring e-mails, it's also necessary to keep watch on Facebook and Twitter, the social-networking websites. Moreover, there could also emerge fake websites at the same speed as that of the news. Another problem is that of search engine manipulation, says security software firm McAfee's Joris Evers, reported msnbc.msn.com.
Explaining the activity of search engine manipulation, the analyst said that criminals did it with the help of software tools for poisoning or manipulating website rankings on search engines. As a result, Web surfers were being driven to maliciously-designed websites.
Said Evers, certain search phrases associated with Haiti returned malicious Web pages, which could implant malware on users' computers or steal their confidential information.
Meanwhile, due to the disaster's vulnerability, the FBI, on January 13, 2010, issued an alert to donors asking them to overlook spam mails soliciting charities. It also encouraged them to be suspicious if survivors directly contact them for money, cbsnews.com reported this on January 13, 2010.
Furthermore, FBI advices users to donate to only reputed organizations while keeping their financial and personal information guarded. Already the agency is investigating a case of charitable e-mail scam related to Haiti.
It (the FBI) also cautions that users must avoid clicking web-links or open attached files marked as videos or photos in such fraudulent e-mails as they could have viruses.
Finally, users must ensure that the donation is registered with an organization and to obtain the registration number. The organization can be checked on websites like CharityNavigator.org or the Wise Giving Alliance of BBB, FBI suggests.
Related article: Publicity can Bring Malware Activity Down
» SPAMfighter News - 1/22/2010
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