Hackers are taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic to spread malware
As the world experience rapid escalation of COVID-19 cases, with more deaths being reported from around the world, many people have taken preventive measures like social distancing, government closing schools and cancelling public events and gatherings, while another group of people popularly known as hackers have turned to their computers to capitalize on the global pandemic. Hackers have been reported to be using coronavirus maps to steal information such as user names, passwords, credit card numbers and other confidential information stored in users’ browsers.
Many organizations have created apps, dashboards, and maps to track the coronavirus cases around the globe and to share up-to-date information about the virus. Hackers have not been left behind. A number of fake dashboards have been created and cybersecurity firms have reported a significant increase in the number of malicious emails containing the word “coronavirus” aimed at trapping unsuspecting users who are in a desperate search for timely virus updates. Hackers have also created fake maps to share live updates purporting to be from governments and credible health organizations such as the World Health Organization.
This demand for information has exposed the public to malicious attacks and malware that are operated by hackers who want to steal browsing history, cookies and ID/passwords from infected computers. Shai Alfasi, a security researcher at Reason Labs collected and analyzed cybersecurity threats emerging as a result of coronavirus pandemic. She discovered some fake coronavirus maps using malicious software called AZORult to infect users’ machines.
“The new malware activates a strain of malicious software known as AZORult. This is an information stealer and was first discovered in 2016. It is used to steal browsing history, cookies, ID/passwords, cryptocurrency and more. It can also download additional malware onto infected machines. AZORult is commonly sold on Russian underground forums for the purpose of collecting sensitive data from an infected computer,” read Alfasi’s report.
As hackers launch attacks to make gains using coronavirus pandemic, it is important to observe strong cyber hygiene by being very vigilant and watch out for these phishing emails and dashboards. Update your computer virus protection, use secured WiFi connection and be careful about how and where you share your confidential information such as passwords. Be alert when accessing live coronavirus updates and be sure to click the right domains that lead you to credible International Health Organizations.
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