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Beware of scam emails offering patches

Priority Level: 
Moderate
17 January 2018

The German government has issued an alert saying malicious emails are being sent out, impersonating their federal security and IT office and infecting computers with malware.

There are concerns similar spam emails could be sent to Australians.

Why is this an issue?

Just last week it was reported that widespread vulnerabilities in Intel, ARM and AMD processors may allow cybercriminals to steal data from billions of devices.

You were advised to download patches as soon as possible, but now cybercriminals are twisting that message.

They are sending out spam emails that include links to fake webpages, where supposed patches to the Meltdown and Spectre attacks can be found.

The email might look like it comes from an official or government organisation, but if you click on the links you will go to a fake website that has the nasty malware, which will infect your computer or mobile.

Staying safe

You should never click on links in emails or messages you aren’t expecting, even if it comes from a government agency or well-known organisation.

Before you click a link (in an email or on social media, instant messages, webpages, or elsewhere), hover over that link to see the actual web address it will take you to—usually shown at the bottom of the browser window.

If you do not recognise or trust the address, try searching for relevant key terms in a web browser. This way you can find the article, video, or webpage without directly clicking on the suspicious link.

More information

Sign up for the Stay Smart Online Alert Service to stay informed on the latest threats.

Read more about phishing scams.