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While DHS warns of Harvey cyber attacks, Trump praises aid effort

DHS’s computer emergency readiness team issued the alert on Monday, urging computer users “to remain vigilant for malicious cyber activity. (Photo by Getty images)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has warned Americans to remain vigilant of the potential for “malicious cyber activity” including fake requests for donations by cyber criminals as the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane continues to affect the southern state of Texas. 

DHS’s computer emergency readiness team issued the alert on Monday, urging computer users “to remain vigilant for malicious cyber activity seeking to capitalize on interest in Hurricane Harvey.”

 The alert warned users “to exercise caution in handling any email with subject line, attachments, or hyperlinks related to Hurricane Harvey, even if it appears to originate from a trusted source.”

“Fraudulent emails will often contain links or attachments that direct users to phishing or malware-infected websites” the statement read, reminding users that “emails requesting donations from duplicitous charitable organizations commonly appear after major natural disasters.” 

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump struck a unifying address in a joint press conference with his Finnish counterpart, President Sauli Niinistö. While extending his “thoughts and prayers” for the victims of the storm he said, "We see neighbor helping neighbor, friend helping friend and stranger helping stranger.”  

Trump seized the catastrophe to send out a message of unity saying, "We will get through this. We will come out stronger. And believe me, we will be bigger, better, stronger than ever before. The rebuilding will begin and in the end it will be something very special."

Trump also took a moment to praise Republican Texas Governor Gregg Abbott, declaring he is "doing a fantastic job."

President Donald Trump and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö hold a joint press conference on August 28, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by AFP)

Responding to concerns about budgetary issues he said, "I think you're going to be in fantastic shape, I've already spoken to Congress.” He added that he does not believe the funds provided for storm relief will affect his budget goals.

Harvey slammed into Texas, the heart of the US oil and gas industry, late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 130 miles per hour (209 km per hour), making it the strongest storm to strike the state since 1961.

It ripped off roofs, snapped trees, and triggered tornadoes and flash floods, and cut power to nearly a quarter of a million people. It also curtailed a large portion of America's oil and fuel production, prompting price hikes at the pumps.

Harvey has since weakened to a tropical storm, but is expected to lash Texas for days as it lumbers inland, bringing as much as 40 inches (102 cm) of rain to some areas, and affecting heavily populated areas.

Officials in Texas said Monday afternoon that at least eight people seem to have died as a result of the storm battering the state. That toll includes six people in Harris County, home to Houston; one person in Rockport, near where Harvey made landfall and another person in La Marque near Galveston.

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