Feeds

Hurricane Sandy: Where are all the cynical online scams?

Update: Ah, there you are!

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Comment The occurrence of a natural disaster or celebrity death have been guaranteed to mean the appearance of topical scams and malware for some years, certainly since the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 if not before.

But the devastation wrought by superstorm Sandy on the US north-east coast and beyond has strangely been accompanied by little or no hurricane-themed scams or malware. Fake photos of the storm have appeared online but they haven't been used to trick surfers into visiting scareware portals or exploit-ridden sites. Fake donation pages are notable by their absence. We haven't even come across bogus emails from supposed Nigerian princes left stranded by the storm in Staten Island or Atlantic City, or similar curtain-raisers for the ever popular 419 (advanced fee fraud) scams.

There hasn't even been increased spam, we'd tentatively suggest. Online scams normally surface, at the latest, 24 hours after tragedy strikes but with Sandy there have been unusually few scams, or at least few reports of attempted fraud.

We'd like to think that either disaster-themed scams have lost their appeal as lures or that compassion has won the day. Only a cynic would suggest that perhaps scammers mainly live in New Jersey ...

Meanwhile, back in the real world, Sandy has claimed at least 55 lives, left thousands (at least temporarily) homeless, shut down the electrical grid and caused billions of dollars' worth of damage, mainly in New York and New Jersey. ®

Update: Some Sandy-themed scams have started to appear, albeit a little later than has become normal after a natural disaster. Sophos warns of the appearance of Hurricane Sandy spam messages that act as a lure for survey scams falsely touting "free multi-coloured iPads".

Elsewhere Verizon reports seeing a first use of Sandy as a theme for targeted malware attacks, punting the Sykipot trojan.

Meanwhile, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is using the infrastructure damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to hype cyber threats.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.