Has Ebola hit your email inbox? The latest Internet scams, malware and viruses come in the form of email related to the Ebola virus. These emails come from various sources claiming to be agencies of the federal government, health insurance companies, charities, and news services. All claim to have vital information about the outbreak. Some claim to provide information about either avoiding the Ebola virus, what to do if you think you have it and how to buy insurance against a possible infection. Some emails claim that your medical insurance will not cover you if you get infected. But you can buy Ebola insurance. Many of the emails contain links or attachments that may download malware or viruses into a users computer. Some of the malware has locked up computers and demanded payment to release the computer back to the owner. Others install malware that copies user names and passwords.
Another email is being sent to people who have recently traveled stating that they may have been infected and they need to click on a link or complete a form to report their name, address and other sensitive information to health authorities. This is a classic phishing tactic.
People are sharing Ebola news via email so look out for email with links or attachments that come from friends. Many viruses and malware programs are designed to email themselves to all the names in the email contacts list. If your friend sends you an unexpected email with a link or attachment don’t open it. Call them and ask if they did indeed send it and what is it?
The US-CERT (United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team) has issued warnings regarding Ebola scams. The organization has warned Internet users to be alert for fraudulent emails of this kind to avoid malicious cyber campaigns.
Internet users are warned to be careful if they receive these types of email messages, If you do receive an Ebola email keep yourself safe by taking the following steps:
- Do not click on unsolicited web links or attachments in email messages.
- Update you 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.
Simple common sense will spot many of these scams. Many cyber criminals are not native English speakers. So they give themselves away with poor writing and English with various typos, grammar mistakes, an odd sender’s email address or a link to a suspicious domain. These are among the most common signs of a scam.
“Ebola scams will continue to push strong emotional triggers, so we advise users to double check online warnings, news updates and videos. Getting news straight from reputable sources and media agencies is always the right thing to do,” said Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi.
Another Ebola scam will tug at the heart of many victims. Fake charities are starting to pop up for Ebola victims and soliciting online donations. Some people have reported receiving calls from charities asking for donations. Before you give a dime to anybody verify the legitimacy of the charity or just donate to the good old Red Cross.
Breaking It Down
Lets admit that some people have no qualms about doing whatever they have to do to rip you off. People are suffering and dying with this horrible disease but somebody is thinking about making money off it. Don’t play into that. Use caution when dealing with any email about the Ebola virus. Same for anyone calling asking for donations. As a matter of fact, treat both as if they do indeed have the virus. Keep your anti-virus software up to date. Make sure your friends and family are aware of the scams that are out there. If you believe that you may have been exposed then stay at home and call 911 for help. And don’t buy Ebola insurance. C’mon; Ebola insurance? Really?
For more information about Ebola scams please see;