Cybercriminals may take advantage of the tragedy to hack into electronic devices through applications or links with supposed information about the earthquake

Moroccan authorities warn of risk of cyber-attacks in aftermath of earthquake

Morocco's Directorate General of Information Systems Security (DGSSI), through the Centre for Monitoring, Detection and Response to Computer Attacks, has issued a statement warning of the risk of cyber-attacks in the aftermath of last Friday night's earthquake.

According to the DGSSI, many cybercriminals are seeking to take advantage of the current humanitarian crisis in the Kingdom. Through phishing campaigns -impersonating companies or public bodies- fraudsters seek to trick citizens into downloading specially designed files or accessing malicious links on social networks in order to distribute numerous types of malware, in particular remote access Trojans and information theft. 

The DGSSI warns, in particular, about earthquake monitoring applications with online map displays that purport to provide information, as they can be used by cybercriminals.

Due to this situation, the Moroccan agency has given several pieces of advice to citizens to avoid falling into the traps of scammers: 

  • Firstly, the DGSSI urges Moroccans to be aware that they should pay more attention to attachments and only open links or documents that come from legitimate and reliable sources.  
  • With regard to phishing, the Moroccan authorities ask citizens to check the sender's address of origin and the web links included in the body of the message, by placing the mouse cursor over these links to display the real address.  
  • It is also recommended that messages containing executable files and those that do not comply with the SPF standard, an email authentication protocol designed to detect phishing, be blocked
  • Finally, citizens are advised to ensure that they only download trusted applications and documents from official sources.  

While the DGSSI warns and fights against cyber-attacks, rescue teams and various national forces continue to search for survivors in the rubble. So far, the devastating 7-magnitude quake has claimed the lives of some 3,000 people, while 5,600 have been injured. The rural areas of Al-Haouz, Taroudant and Chichaoua are the areas most affected by the earthquake, which has also caused significant material damage in the tourist city of Marrakech. 

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