The last month has proved to be hell for Australians, in the most painfully literal sense! The land of the kangaroos has been ravaged by intense bush fires. The fires have so far destroyed some 10 million hectares of bushes, forests, and parks, annihilating anything that stood in their way including 30 people and put millions of species at the risk of extinction.
Despite some relief owing to cooler conditions and rain, 60 fires are still burning in New South Wales and Victoria.
How the bush fire transformed Australia
The famous town of Cobargo before the fires
Cobargo after a firestorm on December 31st
Due to the bush fires, more than 100 animal and plant species already under threat, have lost at least half their habitat.
A setback for the flora and fauna
The Australian bush fires have deeply affected people economically, psychologically and socially but perhaps the biggest impact has been felt by the flora and fauna – the koalas, kangaroos among many other species. The humans might be able to recover, but the wildlife won’t.
At this time, the innocent animals trapped in fires, need donations as much as heartfelt prayers. But, even those donations aren’t safe from opportunists looking to make a quick buck off of other’s misery.
Cybercriminals acting like Vultures
At a time when kind souls are contributing whichever way they can, from volunteering to donating generously, cybercriminals are acting like vultures ready to feast on a dead body, by exploiting the donors.
Cybercriminals have hacked fundraising websites and set up various fake fundraising initiatives.
- A fake page pretending to raise money for the funeral of a 60-year-old bushfire victim – Bill Slade was initiated on Donorbox.
- Sixty people were scammed into donating a total of $4,000 to a fake online fundraising page on GoGetFunding before finally being terminated.
- According to a report, a legitimate relief charity for victims around Lake Conjola – where nearly 100 homes and three lives were lost, fell victim to another hacking. A software called ATMZOW was used to steal credit card details pertaining to the donors.
As if the tragic incident that has devastated Australians and continues to wreak havoc on the entire society wasn’t enough, cybercriminals have decided to make it worse with their greed for ill-gotten wealth.
Such hacking incidents at a time like this, present a lesson for all netizens – we should remain vigilant and never keep the guard down under any circumstances. Cybersecurity measures and relevant tools remain essential for online safety since malicious elements never stop, no matter what!