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This article was published on October 31, 2012

    Hurricane Sandy sends spam levels soaring for scams, fake news, and malware

    Hurricane Sandy sends spam levels soaring for scams, fake news, and malware
    Emil Protalinski
    Story by

    Emil Protalinski

    Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, incl Emil was a reporter for The Next Web between 2012 and 2014. Over the years, he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars Technica, Neowin, TechSpot, ZDNet, and CNET. Stay in touch via Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

    Hurricane Sandy has done a lot of damage so far, but one party is thankful for the superstorm: cybercriminals. Once again, those behind spam and scam campaigns are taking advantage of a natural disaster to push their crap.

    Symantec is reporting that it is seeing message headlines with the words “hurricane – sandy”, “coast – sandy”, “sandy – storm”, and “sandy – superstorm.” More specifically, here are three example headlines for Sandy spam:

    • Help Sandy Victims and get $1000 for Best Buy!
    • Sandy Strikes… [WARNING]
    • Deposit Processing Open Today (Frankenstorm doesn’t stop us)

    None of them are particularly clever, as most just try to use the Sandy name to lure you into clicking on a link with promises of getting a $1,000 gift card or a $1,000 loan. Others are more elaborate:

    Taking past experience into consideration, Symantec anticipates the following types of scams in the next few days: fake news, photos, donation requests, 419 scams, phishing campaigns, and malicious video link attacks. Here are the security firm’s tips:

    Users are advised to type website addresses directly into their Internet browser for any online video rather than clicking on links contained in emails. Finally, never donate money or buy products through wire transfer services or similarly untraceable methods of payment. Instead, reach out to the storm victims through legitimate and secure channels.

    In other words, this is nothing new. If you think with a level head when opening spam emails, you should be fine. Just delete anything that looks suspicious.

    See also:

    Image credit: Steve Knight