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Be aware of fraudsters taking advantage of the devastating incident in Beirut

17 Aug 2020 | Dr. Grigorios Fragkos

As we have seen in the past, major breaking news and large events draw the attention of cybercriminals, as they try to take advantage of such situations. It is devastating what happened in Beirut, and many countries have already sent help, including the UAE.

Given the incident, we would like to raise people's attention that malicious groups and fraudsters attempt to take advantage of situations like this, to profit from it. During such times we observe a rise in different types of malicious communications such as emails pretending to be from legitimate charities, spear-phishing messages through various kinds of social media, even actual phone calls (cold-calling).

Be vigilant.

In times like this, the security community needs to come together with a universal message, raise awareness, and protect one another.

Please make sure you do your diligence if you are interested in helping by sending aid.

  • Do not send funds to charities that "pop-up" the last minute without any tangible evidence that these are legitimate
  • Do not trust links posted on social media, or sent by chat services, that ask for online donations.
  • Do not click on links within email messages that portrait to be from a legitimate source with a sense of urgency, as these may attempt to execute malicious software (such as ransomware) into your network.

If you want to send financial aid, do that only through official channels, such as official government sites that will have all the information on how you can help or send financial aid. For example, the official website of the Emirates Red Crescent which can be found here: https://www.rcuae.ae/.

Please keep in mind that every AED, USD, or LBP unintentionally given to fraudsters or extorted through ransomware propagation, is an amount that will be dearly missed by the people who are affected from this unprecedented incident.

Our thoughts are with the people affected by this devastating incident. Keep informed, be safe, and stay secure.

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