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Cyber Criminals Exploiting Haiti Disaster

According to ESET (an Internet security firm), online crooks are cashing in on the Haiti earthquake to gain personal benefits.

The firm notes that malicious software distributors are taking advantage of the calamity through scam e-mails and SEO poisoning schemes.

ESET states that as Web surfers search to get details about the recent disaster, cyber crooks act promptly to unleash web pages that apparently contain exclusive video footage and news on the Haiti quake. However, these web-pages actually try to contaminate people, who visit them, with malicious software. These malicious programs typically boost fake anti-malware software. Consequently, these rogue software products are growing in terms of sales.

Along with this, ESET states that another scam is making the rounds. This one involves spam mails inviting "charitable donations" to help the disaster-stricken people of Haiti. Sometimes, the scam makes a direct appeal for help apparently from a victim.

However in both the cases, the e-mails commonly carry web-links designed to trick people into clicking them and submitting their credit card information or directly transferring charitable money to certain financial account. Unfortunately, the charitable funds never reach the island and details of credit cards land up in wrong hands for future exploitation.

Further, the ESET researchers are not the only one reporting a rise in spam mails and SEO attacks. Mathew Nisbet, malware Data Analyst at Symantec Hosted Services, also points out a growth in malicious operations.

According to him, the humanitarian catastrophe on account of the quake in Haiti has drawn sympathy of people from all over the world, who are flocking the Net to offer donations. Unfortunately, online scammers seek to exploit these conditions, Nisbet said, as reported by SCMagazineUK on January 15, 2010.

For cyber criminals, 'bad news' always means 'good news.' Incidences like Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami, Michael Jackson's death and Air France disaster have all been exploited. Accordingly, cyber criminals like malware purveyors, spammers and phishers have exploited the situations so that they could to distribute malicious programs as well as disseminate junk e-mails.

Hence, security specialists advise Internet users that they should maintain extreme care when unknown "Charities" approach them.

Related article: Cyber Child abuser Sentenced To Imprisonment

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