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Ebola-Themed Malware Sweeping The Net

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Security firm Tustwave warns users not to open email purporting to be from World Health Organisation

Cybercriminals are playing on the public’s fears over the Ebola virus by sending out malware-ridden emails disguised as health tips.

The criminals are sending out emails purporting to be from the World Health Organisation (WHO) (pictured below) and containing information on how to protect yourself from Ebola. However if a user opens an attachment with the email, their computer will be infected with malware.

This takes the form of a remote access trojan (RAT) called DarkComet, which once installed, provides the criminals with complete control of your computer, including the ability to steal passwords stored on your computer, control your webcam and microphone for secret recordings, and even remotely lock or shut down your PC.

Trustwave ebola emailContagious

“It isn’t surprising to find cyber criminals continuing to piggyback on newsworthy and major events, disasters and outbreaks in order to lure potential victims and spread their malware,” said Trustwave.

Unlike typical email phishing scams, this attack seems to be highly focused, with only a selection of organisations being targeted.

Trustwave says it first became alerted to the attack via one of its ‘honeypot’ addresses, which look to snare criminal’s interest.

This suggests a low volume campaign in an attempt to infect random users in the hope of gaining some data that can be used or sold, the company said.

Following a heightened level of awareness around the Ebola virus, the United States Computer Readiness Team (US-CERT) released a notice last week alerting the public to scams.

“Phishing emails may contain links that direct users to websites which collect personal information such as login credentials, or contain malicious attachments that can infect a system,” the organisation said, adding that people should be wary of opening attachments or clicking links in emails from unknown senders.

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