University of Vermont

Information Technology

Be Careful Seeking News of the Waco Explosion andBoston Marathon Bombings

When tragedy strikes, so do scammers and other malicious actors.  While searching for news and when looking for ways to help, please keep these cautions in mind.  

  • Expect to receive email soliciting donations to aid the victims, or perhaps first responders.   Even if you're familiar with the charity, don't contribute by clicking on links in emails; go directly to the charity's web site.  
  • Avoid text-message scams in which texting to a certain number contributes to a charity.  Again, go to the charity's web site to confirm the campaign.  
  • When searching for news, go directly to sites such as, or use familiar, reputable search sites like  Even reputable search services can offer links to malicious web sites, so as you consider your search results, click only on familiar sites. 
  • Don't click links in email messages that claim to offer news, photos, or video (see the example below).

If you do receive scam emails, you can protect others by forwarding the messages, as attachments if possible, to


Here is an example of a scam received April 17: 


From: "Donald Ames"
Subject: Video of Explosion at the Boston Marathon 2013
Date: April 17, 2013 5:05:31 AM EDT


Update, April 17:  A scam email campaign is using a variety of email Subject lines, including the following:

o    “2 Explosions at Boston Marathon”
o    “Aftermath to explosion at Boston Marathon”
o    “Boston Explosion Caught on Video"
o    "BREAKING - Boston Marathon Explosion"
o    "Video of Explosion at the Boston Marathon 2013"
o    "Runner captures. Marathon Explosion"
o     2 Explosions at Boston Marathon
o    Aftermath to explosion at Boston Marathon
o    Arbitron. Dial Global. Boston Bombings
o    Boston Explosion Caught on Video
o    BREAKING - Boston Marathon Explosion
o    Explosion at Boston Marathon
o    Explosion at the Boston Marathon
o    Explosions at Boston Marathon
o    Explosions at the Boston Marathon
o    Opinion: Boston Marathon Explosions made by radical Gays? Really? -
o    Opinion: Boston Marathon Explosions - Romney Benefits? -
o    Opinion: Boston Marathon Worse Sensation - Osama bin Laden still alive!? -
o    Opinion: FBI knew about bombs 3 days before Boston Marathon - Why and Who Benefits? -
o    Opinion: Osama Bin Laden video about Boston Marathon Explosions - bad news for all the world. -

If you receive email with one of these Subject lines, or similar, do not click on any links contained in the message.  Clicking on the links in these messages infects your computer with malicious software by exploiting a Java vulnerability. 


Update, April 19: A similar spam campaign is expoiting the Waco, TX fertilizer plant explosion. 

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