As the 10-year anniversary of the September 11 attacks approaches, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned computer users to be mindful of cyber scams related to the event, the Associated Press reported.
In recent years, cybercriminals have capitalized on several high-profile events to carry out phishing scams and other cyber attacks. For example, similar warnings were issued after the death of Osama Bin Laden and around the time of the royal wedding.
As with those events, cybercriminals are likely to take advantage of unsuspecting users by posting seemingly legitimate web content related to the September 11 attacks. In actuality, however, the websites contain links to viruses or malicious websites, the news provider noted.
In its bulletin to government officials and IT personnel, the DHS warned that users should also be leery of emails asking for money to support victims of the 9/11 attacks or their families. These emails, the DHS asserted, may be used to collect personal and financial information from Internet users, or they may include links that lead to malicious software that can steal credit card and other data.
This marks the second time in recent weeks that DHS has issued warnings related to high-profile events. In late August, the department posted a bulletin urging Internet users to practice caution when searching for content related to Hurricane Irene.
The DHS said it had received reports of phishing scams and malware campaigns that related to the hurricane. As with the September 11 anniversary, the DHS advised Internet users to avoid unsolicited web links in email messages, to update their antivirus software and to report any suspicions to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team.
This advice extends beyond government employees, however, and should be followed by businesses as well. Taking the proper data security steps can help a company drastically reduce its chances of a data breach.