[SCAM OF THE WEEK]: Notre Dame Disaster Causes FireStorm Of Social Engineering And Misinformation


The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris caught fire and was barely saved from total destruction. Millions of people visit every year and hundreds of millions feel a powerful, and personal, sense of connection to it. I visited it myself quite a few times when I lived 4 years in Paris.

Seeing the cathedral burn was a tragedy, and the bad guys were faster than ever to leverage it into misinformation and social engineering.

One Twitter account stated that the fire was the work of terrorists, and another misrepresenting itself as Fox News posted a fake quote from a Muslim congresswoman allegedly saying “they reap what they sow.” (She said no such thing.) CNN Politics was also spoofed, here is an example screenshot that buzzfeed exposed as a fake.


Similar events of misinformation happened at YouTube and other social media. It is extremely easy to create malicious ad campaigns that drive people to credential phish sites or plain infection of their workstation with malware.

I suggest you send employees, friends and family an email about this Scam Of The Week, feel free to copy/paste/edit:

"Heads-up! Bad guys are exploiting the recent fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. There are fake Facebook pages, tweets are going out with misinformation and fake charity websites are soon to follow. Bad guys are going to try to shock you and manipulate you into doing something in their interest. 


Don't fall for any scams, and do not click on any links in emails, texts or social media. Whatever you see in the coming weeks about Notre Dame... THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK.

For KnowBe4 customers, we have a phishing template, in Current Events titled: "The Guardian: Video Notre Dame's spire collapses..." Send this to your employees to inoculate them against social engineering attacks. Here is how it looks:


Warm regards, and let's stay safe out there.

Stu Sjouwerman

Founder and CEO, KnowBe4


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