The security experts have recently raised the alarm about the growing number of Ebola fundraising scams. The emergence of fraudulent pages was expected as Ebola remains one of the concerning issues around the world.
The cybercriminals saw a nice opportunity to make a profitable business out of the situation. In the beginning, the malware was spread through emails pretending to offer information about the deadly virus. Now the cybercriminals have started tricking users into making donations to false fundraising websites while hoping to help finding a cure for the disease. The hackers do not stop at that point, and they further start crowdfunding sites and collect names and card details.
Such a fake page has been noticed by Barracuda Labs company on indiegogo.com – the international crowdfunding site, which was created back in 2008 and was the first of that kind. The cybercriminals are also using the social networks for sharing and spreading the scam. In addition, their malicious campaigns also include email messages that contain malware or carry links that point to phishing websites.
In the middle of October, the Computer Emergency Readiness Team known as US-CERT has issued an alert concerning the increased number of scams based on the Ebola theme. The team has warned the PC users about the dangers that are waiting for them in case they follow the instructions given in the emails that look suspicious.
At the end of October, security research company gave a signal about a page that claims to provide alerts of nearby Ebola cases, using a toolbar that is installed on the web browser. According to the malware experts though, the toolbar only disrupts the user’s browser experience, changes the search engine results, and loads promoted affiliate websites. The software analysis showed that this is a marketing scheme that opens the door to other programs, and the cyber criminals make money out of every installation of the toolbar.
The malware experts warn the PC users that the fake fundraising websites can have very convincing content. The users might be easily tricked if these fake websites are placed on serious platforms like Indiegogo, for example, which had removed the fraudulent page the very minute it realized its nature.
The donation aiming to help find a cure for Ebola disease is a very good thing. However the users should be careful where the donations are made. In general, they should do so only in the appropriate forums and websites. Links concerning Ebola donation that are spread through the emails or through the social media should be immediately ignored to avoid scams.