#IceBucketChallenge: Be aware of scam or insecure donation websites

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The Ice Bucket Challenge has taken a lot of heat out of this summer. From neighborhood backyards, city streets or office buildings, people everywhere can be seen dumping buckets of ice water on their heads then uploading images or videos to Facebook or Twitter to raise awareness and funds to fight ALS.

In addition to challenging three others, participants are encouraged to make donations online to the ALS association or other charity organizations of their choice. It is for a great cause.

But, take caution, #IceBucketChallenge donors!

There might be some hackers taking advantage of your kindness and donations. Hackers can easily set up a spoofed website that looks like any of those donation websites and spread the word on social networks to attract victims. Although we haven’t yet seen one specific to this campaign, you should always be very careful when using your personal and credit card information online. Additionally, it is possible that many donation websites use insecure ways to take information from users.

So, two things to consider before making a donation online:

  1. Make sure the domain name and URL of the website are matched with what you are intending to go to (do not use your mobile device or tablet for these donations since the mobile sites only show partial URLs in the browser bar – you may get fooled).
  2. Make sure the website is secured with HTTPS.

 IceBucketChallenge Linkis Shortened URL

Figure: Mydonate.bt.com is a secure site, but the shortened URL from linkis.com makes an insecure impression to visitors

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