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Cruel fraudsters try to cash in on Spanish train crash with bogus emails

BY KATIE HODGE

Cyber crooks are trying to capitalise on the devastating Spanish rail disaster by sending out a stream of bogus news emails pertaining to be news updates in a scam to steal bank details, web security experts said.

Fraudsters are believed to have targeted millions of people as the death toll rose following the tragedy in Santiago de Compostela.

They launched their campaign just a day after sophisticated criminals attempted to cash in on the birth of Prince George of Cambridge.

A "steady flow" of messages designed to look like emails from news outlets have been sent out this week, according to analysts.

In each case, the fraudsters rely on recipients clicking on links in the fake emails which claim to direct them to updates from news organisations.

But instead, unwitting readers are lured onto a webpage where their computer can be infected by a virus designed to steal their bank details.

Troy Gill, a senior security analyst, said the same group of people were believed to be behind yesterday's ploy.

"They are keeping it fresh and using a fresh news topic," he said.

"They have just changed the premise, the graphic and the wording but they are using the same infection. Their aim is financial theft."

Security firm Appriver said the graphics used in the scam were improving all the time, making it increasingly difficult to identify e-mails as fakes.

It has "quarantined" more than 400,000 e-mails which feign to take viewers to a story about the train crash.

But the firm estimates the true number sent out would have been "at least several million".

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