July 4, 2016

In the aftermath of Brexit, cybercriminals have launched spam email campaigns capitalising on the prevalent fears and insecurities of UK citizens. Security researchers have spotted malware-laced emails, promising to protect users against the financial and security fallout predicted post Brexit.

Cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows cautioned that emails citing currency fluctuations, political turmoil and Footsie (FTSE) changes have popped up, which are designed to lure unsuspecting victims and infect their systems with malicious codes, the Daily Mail reported.

Digital Shadows co-founder and CTO James Chappell, said: "We have noted an increase in the use of Brexit-related topics in emails since last Friday's referendum result. A common ploy is to send emails stating 'Brexit causes historic market drop'. This is designed to create the urgency to click a link or open an attachment."

Spam email campaigns have become a popular and effective way by which hackers target victims in efforts to gain access to private and financial information. Security researchers have recently noted a spike in email spam activities, which involve cybercriminals sending out thousands of malware and ransomware-laced spam emails to unsuspecting victims. One such spam campaign involves Locky variant Zepto ransomware, which hoodwinks users into clicking on attachments with innocuous and important sounding subject headers like "new invoice", "financial report" and others.

Such campaigns infect victims' systems with malware, which provides hackers with the tools necessary to access users' information. The more effective and dangerous ransomware campaignsgo one step further by encrypting victims' data, demanding varying amounts of ransom from the victims. Since decryption of data is generally time-consuming and cannot be guaranteed, most affected end up paying the ransom to get back access to their data.

Chappell cautioned: "We advise all consumers to exercise caution. Do not open attachments or click on links and delete this type of email straight away."

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