An email scam is targeting Black Lives Matter supporters—here’s what you need to know

Kristine Solomon
·4 min read

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Beware of scams that are targeting supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement
Beware of scams that are targeting supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement

In times of great social importance, it’s common for predators to strike. True to form, cyber criminals have developed a new scam this summer, and they’re targeting Americans who are supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.

The scam first hit our radar thanks to Adam Levin, cyber security expert and founder of Cyberscout. He told Yahoo Life that the Zurich-based cyber security group has identified a phishing campaign in which potential victims are spammed with what they think are Black Lives Matter-related emails.

“Emails with the subject line ‘Vote anonymous about ‘Black Lives Matter’’ have been sending a variant of TrickBot, a Trojan-style program designed to steal credentials and data from computers running Windows,” Levin said.

How dangerous is TrickBot?

TrickBot is technically malware, a program comprised of malicious code that completely hijacks your computer, stealing your identity and all of your personal information, from bank account passwords to social security numbers. Trojan-style programs get their name from Greek mythology, as they’re disguised to look like the real thing much like the storied Trojan horse. All you have to do is unknowingly click a malicious link—in this case, straight from a bogus email or even a text message—and malware takes over.

Phishers bait you with a bogus email containing links to malware. (Photo: Getty)
Phishers bait you with a bogus email containing links to malware. (Photo: Getty)

Threat actors rely on social media, too, where users unknowingly perpetuate phishing scams, according to Levin. In this case, someone “may repost something, not realizing that there could be malicious code in the image,” said Levin. “They might inadvertently be sharing a malware link.” And someone who cares about the topic in question might be more inclined to click on the toxic link if it’s posted by a friend.

This particular TrickBot scam may be new, but malware scams are always rampant on the internet. The statistics are staggering: by 2020, the global cost of malware attacks is expected to hit $6 trillion—yes, trillion—according to the cyber experts at Cybersecurity Ventures. More than 40 million consumer-targeted malware programs were detected in 2019, says security software giant MalwareBytes.

MalwareBytes: your virtual defender against cyber crime. (Photo: MalwareBytes)
MalwareBytes: your virtual defender against cyber crime. (Photo: MalwareBytes)

So what can you do to avoid having your information compromised in a malware attack?

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