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Fraudsters Jump On 'Ernesto' Domain Names

A security frm thinks possible fraudsters have been busy registering domains with the name "Ernesto," hoping to cash in on another disaster.

Possible fraudsters have been busy registering domains with the name "Ernesto," a security organization said Tuesday, hoping to cash in on another Katrina-style disaster.

As of early Tuesday, 19 new domains with the term "Ernesto" have come online, reported the SANS Institute's Internet Storm Center (ISC). Of the 19, 18 are hurricane related, including domains such as "ernestohurricane.com," "ernestodamage.com," and "ernestoweather.com." According to Johannes Ullrich, the chief research officer of the ISC, 17 of those were registered by one person.

"At this point, the domain names listed above are parked, [but] we will keep an eye on them," Ullrich wrote in an online alert.

A year ago, criminals registered a large number of Hurricane Katrina-related Web sites and solicited donations from Web users. Even scammers using the long-running Nigerian-style 419 scheme got in on the act in the fall of 2005.

By mid-day Tuesday, Ernesto, now classified as a tropical storm, was approaching the southern coast of Florida.

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