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Security Response

Spammers Targeting Oklahoma Tornado Victims

Created: 22 May 2013 22:35:08 GMT • Updated: 23 Jan 2014 18:07:10 GMT • Translations available: 日本語
Anand Muralidharan's picture
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Natural disasters, like tornadoes and earthquakes, are quite common in the United States of America. Unfortunately, the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore experienced a violent tornado on Monday, May 20, that sadly resulted in dozens of casualties. Spammers take advantage of natural disasters with luring scams and Symantec Security Response has started to observe spam messages related to this tornado flowing into the Symantec Probe Networks. The top word combinations used in message headlines include:

  • Tornado – hits – Oklahoma
  • Massive – Tornado
  • Huge – Tornado
  • Tornado – survivors

Spammers Targetting 1.jpeg

Figure 1: Oklahoma City tornado spam campaign
 

These headers have been observed in the spam attack:

Subject: People Killed After Violent Tornado Hits Oklahoma

From: Hottestxxx<TornadoHitsOklahoma@[REMOVED]>

Spammers will always make use of the relief efforts by sending spam emails that urge people to help the survivors of the disaster. Users should be careful when looking for news of recent popular incidents and events. Symantec recommends that users take extra caution with any donations or relief funds and recommends using trusted and secure sites to stay safe.

We predict a rise in malicious attacks and other spam campaigns over the next few days. Do not click on suspicious links or open attachments received in unsolicited emails. Keep your security software up-to-date in order to protect your information from online viruses and scams. We are monitoring this trend around-the-clock to ensure that readers are kept up to date with information on the latest threats.