Feeds

Hurricane Sandy: Where are all the cynical online scams?

Update: Ah, there you are!

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
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
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.