Coronavirus helps cyber-criminals spread their own viruses

18 Feb

To illustrate just how opportunistic cyber-criminals have become and how much integrity they lack, let’s take a look at the latest trend of using fears of contracting the Coronavirus to spread digital viruses. If you just read that and thought “what?” don’t worry, you aren’t alone. It’s rather astounding that criminals would stoop even that low…but rest assured that they do!

Ever opportunistic, cybercriminals have recognised the social media-induced panic in people and appear to be taking full advantage of the situation by sending botnet-driven emails that include malicious malware and viruses.

Latest cyber-threats have seen people receiving emails that infer the attached documents include pertinent information about the Coronavirus.

What do the Coronavirus Cyber-Attack Emails Look Like?

Most cybercriminal-created emails follow a similar pattern  – the main objective is to get the reader to click a link or open an attachment.

The subject of the email simply says “Notification” in Japanese. The email signature includes details of the local public health authority and includes the correct telephone and fax numbers, making them seem quite legitimate. The emails are written in Japanese, as the majority of people affected by the Coronavirus are from Asian areas. These are the prime targets.

There seem to be a number of versions of the emails doing the rounds, all of which appear to be sent from a disability welfare service provider operating in Japan. The email states that there have been confirmed cases of Coronavirus in a particular area. It then recommends that the reader opens the attached document for further details. Of course, opening the attachment is a bad idea.

Why is this Email Attack Working?

Social media has played a huge role in creating widespread fear of the virus. At every turn, the Coronavirus has centre stage on all the various social media platforms, which has been a contributing factor in giving the Coronavirus the fame of a global pandemic.  As with any contagious virus there comes fear, which leads to a certain amount of fear-induced poor judgement.

Last Word

It’s always important to consider how and why an authority would email you. If you are in doubt as to the authenticity of an email, before clicking on any attachments pick up the phone and call the authority to check if they have in fact sent out a notification.

Don’t be a victim to opportunistic cyber-attacks – think twice before opening attachments and clicking on links if you aren’t certain who the content comes from.

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