Scammers are extensively using big news event to entice people into giving up their personal information. This time they are making use of the Ebola virus, which is increasingly receiving media coverage in the past couple of months, making it a perfect atmosphere for scammers to launch phishing attacks and spread malware.
An increase in phishing attempts are seen when cybercriminals use social engineering techniques to scare people during such events. The eagerness of knowing more and more about the disease online, takes the user to a malicious website or phishing page.
Also, during such events, unsuspecting users are sent phishing emails informing them about the latest health news and in this case, such emails may provide the current status of Ebola virus. Phishing emails are fake emails sent on behalf of a legitimate source. It may contain links that direct users to malicious websites where users are enticed to provide their personal details such as login credentials, credit/debit card numbers etc. It may also contain malicious attachments that can even infect a system.
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) issued an alert on October 16, 2014 to remind users to protect against email scams and cyber campaigns using the Ebola virus disease as a theme.
US-CERT encourages users to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and take the following preventative measures to protect themselves:
- Do not follow unsolicited web links or attachments in email messages.
- Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
- Refer to the Using Caution with Email Attachments Cyber Security Tip for information on safely handling email attachments.
- Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks Cyber Security Tip for information on social engineering attacks.
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