Data security threat posed by bogus charity appeals in wake of Irene

Data security threat posed by bogus charity appeals in wake of Irene Although the physical damage from Hurricane Irene was significant, it was still less severe than many news outlets had predicted. However, the potential threat to data security from criminals looking to take advantage of the unwary in the storm's wake could be serious.

Homeland Security officials have issued several warnings in the past few days, saying that messages purporting to be from legitimate charities raising funds to help those affected by Irene could be fraudulent or contain links to malicious content.

Any unsolicited emails relating to a highly topical event, like a major storm or the upcoming anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, should be viewed as highly suspicious. Scam artists often take advantage of hot topics in the news to pique interest in their malicious emails and ensnare more victims.

According to experts, this kind of data security breach can occur across a company's network if a worker unwittingly clicks on a malicious link. Some types of malware can quickly infect multiple machines at an organization, posing a significant threat.