During our six-plus years in existence cybercriminals have tried many times to shut us down or interfere with the help we bring to people all over the world. They have used Distributed Denial of Service attacks multiple times and we were back online within a day. They succeeded in hacking our website twice and we were back online within a day. They’ve used brute force login attacks hundreds of times against us and all have failed to breach our defenses. Now we believe a cybercriminal gang is trying something new. Beginning last Thursday morning, August 27, cybercriminals posted our content, or content about us, to more than a dozen malicious websites across the Internet. They all cite The Daily Scam. These sites appear to be very sketchy, and many of them are located in Italy. Here’s a screenshot of one example found on zhafaro[.]store, a domain registered in Malaysia in early July and hosted on a server in Singapore.
This came to our attention in the first place because we had a sudden burst of new subscribers sign up for this very newsletter. (About 60 in less than three days.) While we are thrilled to have so many new subscribers join us (Welcome!), we think that our website’s name and our content is being used as a lure to trick people into clicking malicious Google links to malware-laden websites. (This trick is a form of search engine poisoning.) It appears that cybercriminals are now using information about us to target the very people whom we try to help. We have confirmed malware on three of the websites we’ve found so far.
The websites with confirmed cases of malware waiting for visitors are flowerschoolthailand[.]com, basaltcomposite[.]uz and mail.zhafaro[.]store. These are the other very recent website domains on which we have found references to us: (“.it” = Hosted on a server in Italy) (DO NOT VISIT THESE SITES!)
We also found suspicious content about us on three Facebook accounts located in Spain, Russia, Nepal and all registered to a user called “Spamwhisperer.”
es-es.facebook[.]com/ Spamwhisperer/ posts/
ru-ru.facebook[.]com/ Spamwhisperer/ posts/
ne-np.facebook[.]com/ Spamwhisperer/ posts/
Our biggest concern is for our readers. If you are one of the new TDS readers who signed up for this newsletter after August 26, or found us for the first time after August 26, please think about HOW you found us. If you found us through a Google search for information about an Amazon customer support scam or love scam AND clicked a link that took you to a weird website, your device **may** have been infected with malware. We recommend scanning your device for malware UNLESS you already have top quality anti-malware software installed. These three credible websites have all posted their top choices for Anti-virus/Anti-malware software recently:
CNET (July 20,2020; for Windows users)
TechRadar (August 19, 2020; for Windows and Mac users)
Tom’s Guide (August 21, 2020; for Windows and Mac users)
Both Malwarebytes and Sophos offer good free products to help you scan and protect your devices.
Apparently, we’ve pissed off at least one cybercriminal gang around the Internet. (If we had to guess, our pick would be one of the gangs in India.) But this also confirms to us that we are successful in helping people reduce their online risks! So we’re going to keep doing what we do best. We will continue to educate people about online threats and call out scams and fraud when we see it. To our readers… We’re here for you and will always be here for you! Remember, we don’t just understand your problem, we HAVE your problem!
To the cybercriminals who have taken the time to target our readers (and us)... Thank you for confirming that our work makes it harder for you to earn a living HURTING PEOPLE! We’ve heard the personal and heartfelt stories of hundreds of your victims. You may think this is “just your way of making a living” but we want you to know that you are causing a tremendous amount of pain and suffering in the world. For example, you’ve stolen hundreds of dollars from single mothers who can barely make next month’s rent. You’ve stolen thousands of dollars from elderly people who can least afford it because they have little income or other financial resources. We CHALLENGE YOU to take a moment and imagine that this pain and suffering you are responsible for were to be inflicted on YOUR parents, YOUR sisters and brothers, or YOUR children! Imagine that.
We aren’t going anywhere.
Doug & David
P.S. --you can read about prior efforts by cybercriminals to bring us down in our article “Why it Hurts to Be Right.”
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