Spammers trying to cash in on Swine Flu frenzy

Worried about Swine Flu? If so, don’t let your fear and anxiety dupe you into clicking dubious links in emails. Spammers are increasingly using Swine Flu in subject lines and messages to take advantage of people’s fears of the rapidly-spreading Influenza strain, according to McAfee’s Advert Labs Blog.

Prior to last weekend, Swine Flu spam was practically unheard of. But since Monday, the volume of such spam had exploded, according to McAfee’s David Marcus.

The largest chunk of Swine Flu spam originates in Brazil, but sizable portions also came from the United States and United Kingdom. Subject lines include “Madonna caught swine flu!,” “US swine flu statistics,” and “Swine flu in USA.” Swine Flu spam isn’t necessarily pushing antiviral drugs; some spam links to sites peddling malware (such as one site that tries to install a fake codec trojan). If you receive any such emails, don’t click any links or open any attachments.

Spammers using hot news topics to peddle products or malware is nothing new; for example, during the run-up to the US Presidential Election last fall, spammers used political topics to lure in potential spam victims.

Just like Swine Flu, this spam outbreak is cause for concern, but not panic. Stay safe, and try to stay healthy, everyone!

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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