Consumer Threat Alerts
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Be wary of unsolicited emails and messages related to Osama bin Laden, McAfee warns
Cyber scammers are using the high-profile news of Osama bin Laden’s death to distribute dangerous emails and messages related to the incident. So far, McAfee Labs™ has seen spam emails that claim to have confirmation of bin Laden’s death—or survival—as well as phony Facebook messages offering videos of his demise.
If you click on the links in the messages, they can download malicious software onto your computer or spam your friends and contacts.
As usual, McAfee warns, the cyber scammers are using a big news event to grab Internet users’ attention and get them to click on malware.
Internet users should be on the lookout for these ploys in coming days. Here are more details of the scams we’ve seen so far and how to avoid them:
1. “Confirmation of death/life” spam email– In this scam, the cyber crooks distribute spam emails claiming to have photos or videos that confirm the death of Osama bin Laden, or the fact that he is still alive. For instance, they might claim that the email contains a photo of bin Laden holding a newspaper with today’s date. But, once you open the email and click on the included links or photos, it downloads malware onto your machine.
2. Dangerous social media messages– In addition to sending spam emails, the scammers are also distributing messages on Facebook that claim to contain links to videos of bin Laden’s death. They ask recipients to copy and paste the web address of the video into their browser, but once they do, it spams their Facebook wall with the link.
The Dangers: If you fall for these scams, you could end up accidentally downloading malware, damaging your computer, or spamming your friends and contacts.
Bottom Line: Be wary of any unsolicited messages that claim to have news on bin Laden, and never click on links or attachments included in these messages.
Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim:
1. Never download or click anything from an unknown source. If you really think your friend is sending you a video clip, double-check with the friend to be sure before you click on the link.
2. Before clicking on any links related to the news, check to see that the address is going to a well-established site. If it is a shortened URL, use a URL preview tool such as http://hugeurl.com/, to make sure it is safe to click on.
3. The most common threats are links to spam and malware. Buy consumer security software from a reputable, well known vendor, such as McAfee, and make sure the suite includes anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, anti-phishing, a two-way firewall, and a website safety advisor to stay protected against newly discovered malware and spam.
Tips on What to Do If You Become a Victim:
You’re a victim, now what?
1. To see if your machine has been infected, scan your computer for free using McAfee Security Scan Plus: http://us.mcafee.com/root/mfs/default.asp?cid= 9913
2. If your social media account has been compromised, change your password immediately and delete all dangerous messages and links. Also, let your friends know that your account could be sending them spam in your name.
3. Contact the Cybercrime Response Unit at www.mcafee.com/cru, an online help center for advice and technical assistance, if you think you’ve been a victim of a cybercrime.
To sign up to receive alerts by email, please visit: http://home.mcafee.com/consumer-threats-signup