The Ebola crisis is grabbing the headlines all over the world as we all begin to appreciate just how much of a threat it is, not just to the health of those in West Africa but the rest of the world too. As more news headlines have been made and more campaigns started, we have also begun to see cyber criminals starting to attempt to cash in on the sense of anxiety that many of us feel about the situation with new spam emails.
Hackers are basically using the fear of Ebola to get unwitting online users to click on links in Ebola themed emails that then install Trojan.Zbot, Trojan.Blueso, W32.Spyrat, and Backdoor.Breut malware on their computers. This can then be used to steal log in information, to capture screenshots, log keystrokes, record from the web cam, delete, download and upload files and folders and open web pages.
The email claims to be from the World Health Organisation and is designed to make a reader want to open the attachments –indicating that there is advice on how to protect yourself against the disease in the attached documents. However, in reality, the attachments contain malware that will infect your computer – in this particular case it is a Trojan (RAT) called DarkComet, which will allow a hacker complete control of a PC, allowing the microphone to be turned on remotely to record conversations and even allowing for a complete remote shut down.
There are also other similar spamming campaigns under way so look out for Ebola advisory emails from the Mexican Government, from Etisalat, a telecommunications service provider in the United Arab Emirates and from CNN with breaking Ebola news. If you’re not sure about the legitimacy of an email then you should not click on any of the links that are contained in it and definitely do not click on any attachments in emails where you don’t recognise the sender or where you aren’t already in conversation with the sender. There are also similar tricks doing the rounds on Facebook so avoid clicking on any links you’re sent via a Facebook account too and make sure that your anti virus software is up to date.
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