Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic used to spread malware

Realize Information Technology, Tulsa OK - coronavirus covid-19 map malware

Digital networks also under attack

Wow, someone you never heard of is offering a dynamic map of the COVID-19 coronavirus! That’s handy!

No. That is malware.

Cyber-security professionals are working to block this manipulation of the public concerns.

Making crime easy

KrebsOnSecurity investigated a malware “kit” sold worldwide to hackers. The kit costs $200 – $700. It offers people with limited technical ability an easier way to spread destruction.

As a result, it’s easier to rip off the public.

How widespread is the malware? Hackers have created domain names just to inflame this problem. For example, Forbes magazine lists websites/domains believed to be dangerous:

Realize Information Technology, Tulsa OK - toxic domains
Since we’re opening a lot of these emails looking for information, malicious hackers have found themselves a new phishing strategy. Since January of this year, over 4,000 coronavirus-related domains have been registered. Emails coming from these domains are 50% more likely to be malicious when compared with other domains registered during this period. … MORE (external)

Jeff Woods, president at Realize Information Technology, said the threats are based in fear.

“Cybercriminals exploit every chance to prey on Internet users,” he said. “We are receiving numerous alerts that hackers are attempting to exploit fear from the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Woods said the “Coronavirus Maps” target users looking for a way to see the spread of COVID-19.

“The virus tricks the user to download a malicious application that—on its front-end—shows a map loaded from a legit source. But, but in the background, it compromises the computer. The virus collects information including cookies, browsing histories, user IDs, and passwords. This allows the hacker to steal credit card numbers, login credentials and other sensitive information.”

Looking for red flags

Woods said his team recommends that businesses notify all users of these new threats. Also, that they remind users to be suspicious of websites and external email messages. There is no reason to see a pandemic used to spread malware.

“We closely monitor our client antivirus notifications, and we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” he said. “If you suspect a machine may be infected, please let us know if you have questions or need more information.”

A real map

Official map from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). So, this is a reliable source. cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/

 

Stop the spread of fear

Be aware of your frame of mind and your physical manifestations of fear. To calm down, take a deep breath. Walk outside for a moment. Allow your response to alarming news to be thoughtful. Ask digital professionals for their advice.

Tips from Realize Information Technology:

Our blog includes cyber-security information that can guide your response to problems.

 

General digital security information

CERT helps government, industry, law enforcement, and academia improve the safety of computer networks … https://sei.cmu.edu/about/divisions/cert/index.cfm

 

 

‘hacker’ image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay (modified)