When tragedy strikes, scammers are never too far away. Taking advantage of situations is what scammers do best. The Boston Bombings are no exception to this rule. Emails are currently being sent out by scammers to unsuspecting people searching for more information about the bombings.
What To Watch Out For
Emails with headings like "Boston Explosion Video" or "Boston Bombing Aftermath Video" may contain links to YouTube videos. Clicking on these links will bring you to a website that ends with news.html or boston.html, and you will see a short YouTube video showing the bombing aftermath. Then, there will be a short pause.
After that pause, an executable file will be activated. This is where the trouble starts. That file will then download malware to your computer. See how simple that is? As soon as the malware has been downloaded, your computer is doomed. A security company called Bitdefender first detected the malware that has already impacted many personal computers.
Part of A Bigger Chain
The malware virus that's related to the Boston Bombings is being labeled "trojan.GenericKDZ.14575." This virus is part of a larger virus called "the RedKit Browser Exploit Pack." This is the same virus that took down NBC's website not too long ago.
How To Avoid Being Attacked
It's hard to sort legitimate news from dangerous emails when a tragedy happens. Chances are, your family and friends will be sending you lots of news clips about the bombings in the days to come. My advice is simple, but it will work: stay clear of any emails containing video links. Most likely, you will be safe if the email comes from someone you know, but this might not be the case.
Sometimes, people pass around virus-filled emails simply because they do not know any better (or, they don't actually look at the email before sending it along!). As for visiting websites, make sure that the sites you are visiting are legitimate news sites. Stick with sources that are reputable like Reuters and AP News. This is the absolute best way to ensure that your computer will not become a malware target.
Your computer should have an anti-virus program installed right now. No anti-virus? You shouldn't be using the Internet. That's how bad virus attacks are these days. If you have a solid anti-virus program installed, you can set your program to alert you of any suspicious sites.
It also pays to use your brain. If an email looks odd or is unsolicited, simply don't open it. If a site looks strange, it probably is. Common sense goes a long way in this case!
Also, make sure to set up your email filters, so that you do not receive any emails that contain harmful links. You can prevent malware attacks from happening, but you have to be careful. Unfortunately, tragedies are one of the best ways for attackers to infiltrate computers and spread harm. Thankfully, there are some ways to prevent a malware attack from happening to you -- just make sure to follow the steps listed here!