Cyber criminals exploit Haiti tragedy with malicious attacks

Cyber criminals take advantage of Haiti Appeal for spam and phishing attacks

There was no let up in spamming and phishing activities last month even as the entire world watched with sympathy the tragedy in Haiti. To add to the sorrow behind the devastating earthquake on 12 January, cyber criminals took advantage of the tragedy to launch spamming and phishing attacks.

"Both scam and phishing categories doubled in terms of the percentage of all spam in January 2010 compared to December 2009," reported Symantec in its State of the Spam and Phishing Report of February 2010.

Similar to other trends in the past, 24 to 48 hours after the earthquake hit, cyber criminals launched their attacks. So-called 419 spams inviting people to donate proliferated to lure Internet users to donate to bogus entities. Some even went to the extent of pretending to be legitimate organisations, such as the UNICEF, Symantec reported.

Malware were also introduced into videos pretending to be footages of the earthquake.

Symantec said 79 per cent of phishing attacks in January were aimed at the financial sector. "Phishing attacks are getting more and more targeted in nature and are focused on attacking major brands rather than being mass attacks," the report stated.

But Symantec also observed a 25 per cent decrease from the previous month in all phishing attacks due to a decline in the volume of phishing toolkit attacks. Last month, 14 per cent of phishing URLs were generated using phishing toolkits, a decrease of 50 per cent from a month ago.

Seasonal attacks

Seasonal spurious activities were also reported. These included Valentine's Day promotions and anything that has to do with the 15 April deadline to file taxes.

The United States is still the main source of spams last month at 24 per cent, slightly up by one per cent compared to the previous month. Brazil is a far second origin at only six per cent.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags malwarephishingspamsymantecHaiti

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Veronica C. Silva

Unknown Publication
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?