As the nation mourns the passing of Madiba, scammers and cyber criminals are preparing for new ways to cash in on the situation.
It’s no secret that the world is watching, and people are searching the internet for all things related to Nelson Mandela. With that, though, comes a whole host of online threats. Sites that purport to have information on the former leader, tweets that share links about his history, and emails that claim to be from his long-lost estate.
Andrew Kirkland from security firm Trustwave says that Madiba’s death, unfortunately, brings with it the unwanted attention of online criminals.
“I totally expect there to be a lot of focus in that regard. The threat landscape takes advantage of current events,” says Kirkland.
Recently, the typhoon in the Philippines saw phishing schemes target users by posing as aid organisations and charities. Users enter their details to make a donation in support of the victims, but their details are harvested and money is then stolen from their accounts. Similar behaviour was seen in other natural disasters, including the earthquake in Japan, in 2011.
The death of a statesman presents fewer opportunities for possible scams, but crafty criminals are likely to still jump on the bandwagon and find ways to exploit people who are simply looking for information on a topic that’s in the news.
“People have been reminded about phishing type exercises by the banks and many other industries, to keep vigilant,” says Kirkland. He advises people to be vigilant online, and question the origin and authenticity of information that they receive via email and SMS.