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Do you trust the BBC? Scammers hope so

In Britain – and in many places across the world – the BBC is considered the pinnacle of unbiased and trustworthy news reporting. Starting with the World Service back in the 1920s all the way to its cutting-edge website today, many people believe in the BBC.

Unfortunately, this means that when scammers impersonate the BBC, people are more likely to believe them. This is exactly what started happening last week when a fake BBC email start circulating through people’s inboxes.

The email from the impostors posed as a version of the BBC’s “share this story with a friend” option from its news website, emulating the layout and discussing a story regarding the Cyprus bailout. If you see this turn up in your inboxes, be sure to delete it as soon as possible and don’t open any of the links.

While the email itself contained no harmful files, clicking on any of the links would take your to one of the following four pages (some letters removed to prevent people accidentally opening one – links courtesy of Webroot):

http://templario***rp.net/cyprus_bail.html

http://web-***.ru/cyprus_bail.html

http://www.ph***shopbus.co.uk/cyprus_bail.html

http://woori***tion.com/cyprus_bail.html

Once any of those pages loaded up, a piece of malware from the “Black Hole Exploit Kit” would be installed and cause issues on your computer. It’s not clear what exactly the malware does to your computer, but one of the changes was to a piece of software called WinRAR.

WinRAR is frequently used to create files to share with other computers, and so it’s possible it was trying to embed itself into other files to infect other computers.

How do you avoid these problems?

While it’s a great shame that this type of email exists, it’s not too difficult to avoid falling for one of these scams.

For example, this email only caused problems if you clicked on a link inside it. If you hover your mouse cursor over any link in your email inbox, your computer will automatically show you where that link goes.

If you are reading an email from the BBC, expect the link to go back to bbc.com. These, however, didn’t. They went to a variety of strange addresses – and therefore you can know to not click them. Easy?

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