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BW Businessworld

Wait, Don't Look!

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You can take it for granted. Whenever something significant happens in the world, there'll be a scam riding on it. This is true whether the event involves someone's death, such as with Steve Jobs, or whether it's a festival or holiday, such as with Christmas, or when some celebrity shoots up into the headlines. Even natural disasters and the acute suffering of millions is not exempt. In no time at all, you'll find that scams sprout up—particularly on Facebook— and everyone generously helps to spread the contents. And though I've written about this before, I see, among my own collection of friends, no sign of figuring what looks suspisciouis and what is genuine.

Scamsters are good psychologists. They're also expert with aa data. So, they hone in precisely on what human beings will typically do when they see a piece of content.

They know very well, for example, that if someone were to forward you a link to see truly awful pictures of Gaddafi's last moments, you wouldn't be able to resist looking.  Security firm, Sophos reports that hackers have spammed out an attack posing as pictures of Gaddafi's death, tricking users into believing that they came from the AFP news agency.

An email with what looks like a news reports is going out with an attachment of what is apparently a set of photos of the bloodied body of the killed Libyan leader. If Windows users open the .rar file, they will be rewarded with a virus.

There are reports that the public is baying for photographs of Gaddafi's death and that there is a fierce media competition on to post the most gruesome ones and that those who are being careful are the exception not the rule. Of course, you withhold something and people want it all the more, so the likelihood that users online will click on links and attachments is quite high.

Technology website, Mashable also reports a gruesome photo being circulated via mobile possibly carrying a payload of malware.

It's well to realise and remember that malware makers want you to click, go to a website, forward, give your email id or open a file that contains code to compromise your computer or device.  Unless users stop being outright lazy and continue to do nothing to understand and be alert for typical malware tricks, scammers will continue to have a blast.

Mala Bhargava is a personal technology writer and media professional
Contact her at mala at pobox dot com and @malabhargava on Twitter