Scammers, crooks and spreaders of computer malware have wasted little time in trying to play off the public's sympathy for the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy, prompting warnings from the Massachusetts attorney general and computer security companies to be extremely wary about donating money to unfamiliar charity websites, and clicking on unsolicited Web links.
In the last 48 hours, more than 100 websites have been created with names that use the words "Boston marathon." Some of the owners of these sites may be seeking to get your cash, but not help anyone but themselves, says Michael H. Berkens, editor-in-chief of The Domains, a domain industry news site.
"Just minutes after the reports of the explosions hit the news, (website) domain names related to the bombings were already registered and some parked by people looking to make money off the tragedy," wrote
"Messages spammed out by attackers claim to contain a link to video footage of Monday's terrorist activity in Boston, with subject lines such as '2 Explosions at Boston Marathon,'" he wrote. Other subject lines in emails include the words "Aftermath to explosion at Boston Marathon," "Boston Explosion Caught on Video" and "Video of Explosion at the Boston Marathon 2013" or variations of these.
"If you make the mistake of clicking on the link, however, you are taken to a website which — while showing you genuine YouTube videos of the the horrific incident — attempts to infect your computer with a Windows Trojan horse that Sophos products detect as Troj/Tepfer-Q," he wrote.