Original release date: November 19, 2013
As the winter holidays approach, US-CERT reminds users to stay aware of seasonal scams and cyber campaigns, which may include:
- electronic greeting cards that may contain malware
- requests for charitable contributions that may be phishing scams and may originate from illegitimate sources claiming to be charities
- screensavers or other forms of media that may contain malware
- credit card applications that may be phishing scams or identity theft attempts
- online shopping advertisements that may be phishing scams or identity theft attempts from bogus retailers
- shipping notifications that may be phishing scams or may contain malware
US-CERT encourages users and administrators to use caution when encountering these types of email messages and take the following preventative measures to protect themselves from phishing scams and malware campaigns:
- Refer to the Shopping Safely Online Cyber Security Tip for more information on online shopping safety.
- Do not follow unsolicited web links in email messages.
- Use caution when opening email attachments. Refer to the Using Caution with Email Attachments Cyber Security Tip for more information on safely handling email attachments.
- Maintain up-to-date antivirus software.
- Review the Federal Trade Commission’s Charity Checklist.
- Verify charity authenticity through a trusted contact number. Trusted contact information can be found on the Better Business Bureau’s National Charity Report Index.
- Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document for more information on avoiding email scams.
- Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks Cyber Security Tip for more information on social engineering attacks.
- Refer to the Holiday Traveling with Personal Internet-Enabled Devices Cyber Security Tip for more information on protecting personal mobile devices while traveling over the holidays.