Scammers are trying to cash in the Swine Flu frenzy. As if the threat of a pandemic weren’t enough, now we have to worry about a potential computer virus epidemic, phishing attacks and bogus prevention products.
"The scare has spawned a spamming frenzy, like sharks smelling blood in the water," Symantec researcher Mayur Kulkarni said in a blog post.
Don’t let your concern about the flu trick you into clicking on links in e-mails. Domain names related to "swine flu" are being snatched up and may be used to host malware or for phishing attacks. US-CERT, a computer security group operated in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is already aware of reports of a spear phishing attack involving Adobe Reader (.pdf) attachments with file names and subject lines related to the recent reports of the flu outbreak.
You should also be wary of e-mails asking for donations to help those affected by the epidemic and advertisements for items claiming to cure or protect you. At least one Web site has reportedly offered a "Swine Flu Survival Guide" for $19.95. No vaccine exists. If you want real updates and health tips, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention site. Our state's Department of Health also has helpful information online.