Dead president Chavez becomes target of phishing attacks

Con artists immediately began tailoring mass mailouts around the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez when the news broke, according to a report from Kaspersky Lab. There have been riots there, too.

As soon as Chavez died, scammers started thinking of ways to exploit his death. In one instance, Kaspersky found someone claiming to be a Venezuelan official looking to recover money after sellign diesel fuel to South Sudan. Kaspersky said the first emails didn’t offer a reward – but later on, when interest was picqued, the spammer would discuss “cash”.

In another case, scammers pretended to be emailing on behalf of the head of Chavez’ security detail. The line of logic was that this trusted friend of Chavez – who does not exist – was keeping a fortune safe in the bank for Chavez’s secret lover – and this is where you help.

Recipients were told they could have 25 percent of the secret treasures for transferring the cash out of the country.

Elsewhere in its latest spam report, Kaspersky found that the US and China were battling for the questionable honour of biggest spammers – but in March, China won out, sending out a quarter of all junk email.  The US, however, set off most email antivirus alarms for the month, taking 13.6 percent of the share. Altogether, China and the US produced 43 percent of spam.

Phishing doubled over February, with social networks still the most effective model for snagging passwords.