Ebola isn't just a health issue overseas - it's now a concern in the U.S. Several people have been infected by the disease here already, and it's important that you know what to do to keep yourself safe. That's why you might welcome an email from the World Health Organization that says it's full of Ebola prevention tips. Not so fast. There's a fake email going around that claims to be from the WHO, but could actually install malware to give hackers control of your computer.
Cybercriminals are using the current Ebola outbreak as a topical hook for spam emails that can install malware giving them remote access to computers, including logging key presses, capturing video from webcams and stealing passwords.
Don't panic. The spam emails aren't widespread yet. The emails were discovered by a team at the online security company Trustwave. The emails claim to have Ebola "prevention" techniques listed in an attached file. But, the attachment will actually install a harmful remote access Trojan virus called DarkNet.
Whenever there's a public crisis, lowlifes will try to take advantage of it for their own benefit. It's sad but true. Remember the companies selling fake Ebola cures that I told you about last week? You have to prepare yourself to separate real information from scams to keep your information safe.
Because the spam isn't widespread yet, we don't have a copy of the fake Ebola prevention email to show you. But, there are a few key things you should look for to protect yourself.
First, take a look at the sender email address. The name will probably say something generic like World Health Organization. But, you want to look at the email address next to that. Fake emails generally use an email address that doesn't match up with the organization the sender is claiming to represent. The WHO website is who.int, so emails it's sending out should come from there. For instance, the WHO email address you'd contact to receive official publications is email@example.com.
I received a phishing email from "Apple" last month and the sender email address was a dead giveaway. Click here to take a look at that bogus email to learn about more warning signs to look for.
You should also keep your eyes out for misspellings, too. Many spam emails are hastily put together and contain spelling and grammar errors. A huge organization like WHO likely has copywriters on staff to double and triple check official emails, so to see a bunch of errors is a definite red flag.
And, most importantly, never open attachments from any email address you don't know. Even if the sender is claiming to be a legit organization, steer clear of any attachments if you have any reason to believe it might be a fake. Only accept attachments from trusted contacts with whom you're comfortable. If WHO really was sending out tips, it would likely include them in the body of the email, not as an attached document.
Looking for REAL Ebola prevention tips? Click here to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's official Ebola website.