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CERT warns of Christchurch-related scams and attacks

Sarah Putt, Contributor. 19 March 2019, 8:47 am

CERT NZ has issued a warning that the tragic event in Christchurch last week is being used by scammers and attackers to perform targeted online cyberattacks against New Zealanders.

Reports received by CERT NZ include online donation fraud, malware embedded in video files, defacement of New Zealand websites and denial of service. The scams and attacks follow the formats below:

  • phishing emails containing links to fake online banking logins. These emails also contain fraudulent bank accounts where victims can make donations for the Christchurch tragedy
  • sharing malicious video files on compromised websites or on social media. A video file containing footage related to the attack had malware embedded in it and this malicious file is being shared online
  • attackers changing New Zealand websites to spread political messages about the Christchurch tragedy
  • New Zealand websites receiving threats of denial-of-service attacks, which would take them offline.

The CERT NZ warning notes that there are official channels to donate money to the victims of the Christchurch shooting, and recommends people use these online forums and banks. While not specifically mentioned in the release, Victim Support's official page on Give-a-little is one such outlet and as of this morning had reached over $6 million.

Those who receive a phishing email or have found a website hosting political messages, or if they have a website taken over with political content relating to the tragic events in Christchurch, are asked to report it to CERT NZ. It is recommended that you also consent to share with the Department of Internal Affairs and police.

In addition, CERT NZ warns that the DIA considers video relating to the attack in Christchurch as objectionable material and notes that it's an offence to possess, share and/or host the harmful content.

You can report an issue to CERT NZ here.

You can report an issue to the DIA here.

It's also noted in the CERT NZ release the contact numbers of helplines that are available if people need to talk to someone. These free helplines operate 24/7 and are as follows:

  • Depression helpline: 0800 111 757
  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • Need to talk? Call or text 1737
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633 or text 234


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