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The spread of Coronavirus is a news story of global importance. As per BBC reports, 10,000 confirmed cases and more than 250 deaths of coronavirus have been reported so far. With that being said, security research firms have uncovered the dreadful act of cybercriminals where they are taking advantage of this epidemic to make fast money. Shocked!
This is true, cybercriminals will do whatever it takes. For the residents of Wuhan province of China coronavirus is a death call. But for hackers, it is an opportunity to cash in.
Hackers have been sending phishing campaigns explicitly related to the coronavirus outbreak to potential victims in Japan.
How is the Coronavirus outbreak used to spread malware?
The heartless hackers are sending out emails claiming coronavirus has infiltered the country. The emails have Microsoft Word documents as attachments that contain advice on protection against the virus. They are disguised as official notifications from public health centers.
Given the circumstances, people open these documents and enable content when asked for, this way, the malware starts spreading.
After this infected system is used to spread the malware. The motive behind this malware is to make money, steal personal information.
Emotet malware is not used like this for the first time. Earlier Emotet was used to take advantage of Greta Thunberg’s demonstration, Christmas parties, etc. Now they are doing it again steal sensitive data and transfer it to cybercriminals’ servers.
It’s not just Emotet that is looking to take the opportunity of the outbreak. Kaspersky has seen different spam campaigns that contain coronavirus themed attachments.
The discovered files are masked under- .PDF, .MP4, .DOC. Name of these files suggests they comprise of video instructions to protect from coronavirus, countermeasures to stay protected, which is not the case.
The files contain worms, trojan horses that can destroy, copy data and interfere with the functioning of computers and networks.
How to stay protected from coronavirus malware infection risk?
As always suggested, avoid clicking on unknown links or open attachments to those emails.
- Spread the word – make people aware of the campaign. The more people are aware less likely they will be infected by Emotet.
- Keep anti-virus software and associated files updated.
- Block all URL and IP based IOCs at the firewall.
- Update operating system and application with the currently released patch.
Coronavirus isn’t just limited to malware infection
The degree to which the online world responded to the coronavirus isn’t limited to cybercriminals and malware. Misinformation regarding the spread of viruses and a variety of deceitful claims of cure is prevalent across social media. There are theories claiming the Chinese government created this disease, Gates Foundation is funding patent virus. The level of misinformation doesn’t end here, people are selling snake oil cures, or pushing groundless advice.
What is Wuhan Coronavirus?
Coronavirus is named after the Latin word ‘corona’. It means crown.
This virus causes illness in humans and animals and breaks into cells inside the host to reproduce itself and interrupt the normal functioning of the body.
How social media is fighting back the misinformation
Google has activated an SOS alert to give out relevant information. On the other hand, Twitter and Facebook are removing misinformation about coronavirus and are helping people find credible and right information.
Things are not going to end here. This time, it is coronavirus sometime later it will be something else. You cannot stop or blame hackers from taking advantage of the epidemic. What you can do is stay informed and vigilant.
As people continue to be worried about health, we might see more malware hidden inside fake documents. To avoid falling for foul links and these gimmicks visit the official source.