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McAfee Warns Against Bogus Visa Waiver Virus

Internet security firm McAfee cautioned travelers to the United States to stay away from rouge websites that claim to help registers details in advance of the trip. The security firm has revealed that the cybercriminals are exploiting travelers' insufficient knowledge about visa requirements to distribute malware and steal money.

The security experts clarify that now tourists from 36 nations are required to apply online for a visa waiver if going on tour to the US. All incoming travelers utilizing the Visa Waiver Program should make online registration at least 72 hours prior to departure using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) system. For this, people will be required to pay $14 (around £9) from September 2010 onwards.

As this is not done frequently, the free pass lasts for two years, thereby increasing the risk of falling to a scam. Furthermore, as this registration can only be performed through an online process and registrants are mainly unaware of the official U.S. government websites and registration processes, this condition is a dream come true for numerous cybercriminals and scammers.

McAfee informs that cybercriminals have been engaged in creating fake websites of Homeland Security's Electronic System for Travel Authorization. The security company discovered that a normal search for "ESTA" or "ESTA form" lead to fake websites. These include websites offering to fill in form for a cost, forged government websites and websites that need a form to be downloaded which in reality includes malware.

Fake websites providing ESTA forms have been popping up left and right for quite some time, and the proclaimed fee has caught the attention of more malicious individuals in search for a quick buck. As the registrants expect to have to enter a diversity of personal information to attain travel authorization, they are obviously less prone to spot something strange.

As per the security researchers, one of the bogus websites they came across was far more persuasive than the official ESTA website.

The company cautioned that people should always use the official website of the US government ESTA to register their visit to the US. They must also avoid websites that offer to fill the travel approval form for them, or asks them to download any type of form.

Related article: McAfee Alerts Windows about Accessibility Hole in Vista

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