A common way that hackers manage to trick people into downloading malware used to steal the information from your computer or smartphone and enable them to make you a victim of identity theft is to send the malware disguised as an attachment for a video of something of great interest to many people. It may be something related to a celebrity, such as purported nude videos or it may be of an event in the news, such as a video purporting to show formerly unavailable footage of, for instance, the shootings in the Orlando nightclub. The presidential election is tremendous fodder for people seeking videos of candidates in compromising situations and scammers are taking advantage of this with malware attached to emails promising to provide newsworthy events. Such is the situation, as reported by computer security company Symantec, with an email presently circulation promising that the attached video shows Hillary Clinton accepting money from an ISIS leader in 2013. In addition to being a totally outrageous accusation not based in any fact, the email is fraught with poor grammar. However, that is not stopping some people who are clicking on the link and unwittingly downloading malware that can result in their becoming a victim of identity theft.
Regardless of who sends you an email or a text message with a link attached, you should never click on the link until you have confirmed that the communication is legitimate. Even if the message appears to come in the email or text message from a trusted friend, you can’t be sure that your friend has not had his email or smartphone hacked and used by a scammer to spread malware. You should have security software on all of your electronic devices including your computer and smartphone and make sure that you keep your security software up to date with the latest security patches, but you cannot totally rely on that software to protect you from all malware dangers because it generally takes the software security companies about a month to catch up with the latest strains of malware. Finally, in regard to communications promising startling videos or pictures of celebrities or newsworthy events, you should be particularly skeptical as to their authenticity. Instead, it is better to rely on legitimate news sources that you can trust to be safer and more accurate.