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News

Hackers exploit public interest in Californian wildfires

Symantec : 07 September, 2009  (Technical Article)
Symantec comments on the wave of fake e-mails offering news on the fires spreading through California in order to propagate malware
As wildfires continue to threaten various areas in California, hackers are exploiting public interest in the fires to spread malware. Symantec Security Response, which provides customers with global, 24/7 internet security expertise to guard against complex internet threats, has confirmed a number of Web pages constructed by cybercriminals to spread malware to users who are searching for information about the fires. Hackers are using search engine optimization techniques to push malware as users search for the latest breaking news.

Some sites display bogus security warnings, alerting users that their PCs need to be scanned for threats, and urging users to download fake AV solutions. Other sites offer fake "breaking news" video clips about the fires, luring users into installing malicious code on their computers by watching the videos.

To stay protected, consumers should use best practices for online safety, including keeping their security updated and relying on well-known news outlets for the latest breaking news.

"This is the latest example of hackers taking advantage of tragedies and natural disasters to distribute malware, as they did following the death of Michael Jackson, Hurricane Katrina and the outbreak of swine flu," said Marian Merritt, Symantec's Internet Safety Advocate. "In times of crisis, it's important for consumers to remember to turn to trusted and reliable sources of information for the latest breaking news."

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