Haiti Relief – Good and Bad

[Originally posted 1/14/2010]

The earthquake in Haiti is a tragedy. Sadly, tragedies tend to result in an upturn in malware and social engineering directed toward the tragedy.

The Bad

The social engineering schemes that have arisen in just a couple of days are many. The worst are those that use SEO techniques to rise to the top of Google and other searches and then, when you visit the site, install malware on your system and use that to try to get money from you that has nothing to do with Haiti.

F-Secure has a blog entryWeb Link that describes this in detail.

You can bet that this will only increase as the tragedy stays at the top of the news.

The Good

OK, so who can you donate to? There are many organizations so pick the organization you trust and then navigate directly to their website. If a link takes you anywhere that asks for a scan or other such thing immediately leave that site. None of the national charities will do that.

Don’t know who to pick? I can suggest one that I trust and personally know about: Direct Relief InternationalWeb Link. What makes them so special? Several things:

  • 100% of all donations go to charitable work. A bequest for the purpose of setting up a fund to pay all of their administrative expenses was given to them so everything you give is used for medical supplies going directly to people who need them.
  • Unlike some charities that distribute through governments, DRI has known agents in places of need and the supplies go directly to those agents for specific use in clinics and for the people. Nothing is skimmed off the top by a bureaucracy.
  • They leverage the money. For every dollar given, DRI, through their contacts at FedEx and other companies can provide up to $37 of supplies directly to those in need.
  • And, not that this is particularly important to anyone but me, I’ve been to their headquarters, seen what they do and how they do it, and can personally confirm they do what they say they do.

But, make up your own mind. Just do something. You’ll feel better for it.