To date, more than 280 Internet domain names have been registered relating to Hurricane Gustav, some of them using words like “charity,” “relief,” and “support.” The U of Alabama – Birmingham [UAB] computer forensic team is watching these domains to detect any signs of fraudulent use. UAB’s Spam Data Mine collects millions of email messages used to provide investigators with spam intelligence and determine new attack methods.
“In past disasters, domain names have been used to lure the charitable into donating funds to fraudulent sites,” said Gary Warner, UAB’s Director of Computer Forensics. “As of this morning, no fraudulent usage has been detected, but consumers need to be on their guard.”
“While many new charities may pop up specifically related to the disaster only donate to well-established charities like Red Cross.org,” Warner said. “Avoid making donations through click buttons on newly established Web sites.”
I can’t agree more. Kudos to these folks at the U of Alabama!