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Hurricane Katrina "Cyber-Scams" – National Cyber Security Alliance Issues Warning

"Beware of Online Scams and Security Risks From Hurricane Katrina," NCSA Warns

The loss of life and destruction of property wrought by Hurricane Katrina has been utterly devastating. Unfortunately, now there is another after-effect to worry about, says the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA): online criminals are already taking advantage of generous individuals who are looking to donate online to disaster relief efforts.

The FBI is currently investigating hundreds of Web sites posing as online charities to lure in potential donors and obtain their financial information. In addition, there are reports of phony e-mails from fake charities being used to spread worms and viruses.

In an effort to help prevent online exploitation of Hurricane Katrina and help ensure that donations get to the people in need, the NCSA – a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization – offers the following tips to help consumers avoid becoming a victim of an online relief scam or security attack:

  • Do not respond to any unsolicited SPAM/incoming e-mails about the hurricane
  • Be skeptical of individuals claiming to be surviving victims asking for money to be placed in bank accounts
  • To ensure that contributions to U.S.-based non-profit organizations are used for intended purposes, go directly to the Web sites of recognized charities and aid organizations, as opposed to following a link to another site
  • Verify the legitimacy of non-profit organizations by consulting trusted Internet-based resources (such as the Network for Good and the Federal Emergency Management Agency) which may assist in confirming the existence of the organization as well as its non-profit status
  • Don't open e-mail attachments that claim to contain pictures of disaster areas, as the files may contain viruses. Only open attachments from known senders.

A public- private partnership, NCSA sponsors include the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission, and many private-sector corporations and organizations. NCSA provides tools and resources to empower home users, small businesses, and schools, colleges, and universities to stay safe online. For more information: http://www.staysafeonline.info.

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SYS-CON's Security News desk trawls the world of security for news of software, hardware, products, and services that seems likely to be of interest to infosec professionals and summarizes them for easy assimilation by busy IT managers and staff.

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