Saturday, August 22, 2009

Online Swine Flu Scams On The Rise

As the swine flu outbreak reaches near pandemic levels, cybercriminals continue to use the flu scare as bait to scam Internet users.
About five percent of global spam volume now mentions “swine flu” to trick people into opening the e-mail message. That could amount to billions of messages each day. McAfee Avert Labs has seen between 80 billion and 100 billion spam messages each day over the last month. Note: there was no spam at all that mentioned swine flu before the weekend.
The swine spam is being sent from all over the world, which isn’t a surprise since the messages are sent from compromised computers networked in a criminal botnet. Still, about half of all the swine flu spam seen to date originated in Brazil, the United States and Germany. There’s a chart that shows the breakdown on the McAfee Avert Labs blog.
McAfee has also seen sites with the words “swine” and “flu” pushing malicious code. In one case a Russian-based site instructs the visitor to install a “video codec” to view a movie. This isn’t a real codec to allow viewing; instead it is malicious software that puts the victim’s computer at the beck and call of the attacker.
Additionally, McAfee Avert Labs has seen an increase in the registration of domain names that mention swine flu, which could indicate a rise in malicious sites that take advantage of the scare.
Should you need information on the flu situation, go to the World Health Organization, CDC or any other reputable source, do not follow links that arrive in spam, instant messages or on social networking Web sites. If you think your PC might be infected or that you may have been the victim of a cybercrime, visit McAfee’s free Cybercrime Response Unit.
For your reference, subject lines for the swine flu messages include:Salma Hayek caught swine flu!Madonna caught swine flu!First US swine flu victims!US swine flu statisticsSwine flu worldwide!Swine flu in Hollywood!Swine flu in USA.

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