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.

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

How widespread is the malware? Domain names have been created to inflame this problem. 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 will stop at nothing to exploit every chance to prey on Internet users,” he said. “We are receiving numerous alerts that hackers are attempting to exploit the fear and panic from the COVID-19 outbreak.”

Woods said the “Coronavirus Maps” virus targets users looking for maps showing the spread of COVID-19.

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

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 are monitoring our client antivirus notifications for infection notices closely and we are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week if you suspect a machine may be infected,” he said. “Please let us know if you have any questions or need more information.”

A real map

Here is an official map from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This is a reliable source. It is not necessary to install software just to look at the CDC map … https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/locations-confirmed-cases.html

 

Stop the spread of fear

Be aware of your own frame of mind, and your physical manifestations of fear. 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 partners with government, industry, law enforcement, and academia to improve the security and resilience of computer systems and networks … https://sei.cmu.edu/about/divisions/cert/index.cfm

 

 

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