Scammers, Spammers Embrace Swine Flu News
There's something vaguely diabolical about a form of unwanted communication named after a brand of canned, chopped pork that piggybacks on a public health scare involving a flu strain derived from swine.
Yes, you guessed it: Spammers have seized upon public awareness around the Swine Flu epidemic to hawk knockoff prescription drugs. And we're not talking about flu vaccines, either.
According to McAfee Avert Labs, over the weekend spammers began pumping out junk e-mail with various Swine Flu subject lines to trick people into opening the missives. McAfee says the first of those spam campaigns amounted to about 2 percent of global spam volume.
Meanwhile, it appears that dozens of new Web site names with the term "swineflu" included in them were registered during the last few days. Researchers at security software maker F-Secure Corp. warn that if similar activity surrounding previous national emergencies is any indicator, scam artists may be preparing to use them in a variety of online con schemes.
F-Secure on its blog notes that at least one of the sites - noswineflu.com - tries to spoof readers into purchasing a PDF called "Swine Flu Survival Guide" for $19.95.
I'm sure it won't be long before purveyors of rogue anti-virus products begin using search engine optimization techniques around the term "swine flu" to drive people to sites that try to scare people into buying the worthless software.
Update, Apr. 28, 1:51 p.m. ET: The U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) now has an advisory out about swine flu-related scams.
April 27, 2009; 5:05 PM ET
Categories: Fraud , Latest Warnings | Tags: f-secure, mcafee, swine flu
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