A Different kind of Virus: Hackers exploiting the Covid-19 Pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak is devastating many industries. But one industry seems to have found an opportunity in the chaos. That industry is ‘Hacking’. Indeed, with the heightened fear of the Covid-19 pandemic, the proliferation of a very different kind of virus is now emerging, with scammers currently utilizing the universal fear of the outbreak to lure netizens into downloading malware, mostly through phishing hacks.

Phishing for Coronavirus

The alleged Pakistani government sponsored organization, APT36, is known for their phishing email hacks, which encourage people concerned for their safety amid the virus outbreak, to download malicious Microsoft Office documents. Unbeknownst to the victims, the document targets their Windows system with a Remote Administration Tool (RAT), giving the hackers remote access to their software.

Their weapon of choice is a seemingly informative document ostensibly containing updates about coronavirus related health advice. These documents are viruses engineered to break into computers and steal information, take a real-time screenshots, which will be sent back to the cybercriminals. However, this type of hacking is not only a government sponsored phenomenon; Forbes discovered that people in a variety of countries are receiving similarly themed emails from independent sources.

Read Also: The Code behind the Malware: The Digital DNA of a Computer Virus

Italy: A Victim of a Different Type of Pandemic

Italy, similarly, has been falling victim to a bogus e-mail allegedly containing information about precautions to prevent infection; an appropriate theme for the 2nd most infected country in the world. Indeed, these attacks are particularly appalling as it attempts to exploit the coronavirus emergency where it has hit the hardest. The email contains a link offering information about precautions to be taken against an infection. The link carries a Trickbot Trojan virus coded to spread itself and to trick victims into divulging their credentials.  This covid themed virus is part of an campaign spreading throughout the country for approximately six months.

How to Protect Yourself

Indeed, the best way to avoid such cyberattacks is to disable macros and be especially wary of emails from unknown sources. Whenever a dominant topic emerges within the public discourse, as is the case with the current Covid-19 pandemic, hackers will always try to take advantage of the situation by transforming fear into an opportunity.

Read Also: Digital Solutions: the UK’s response to the Coronavirus

Services offered by Logique Digital Indonesia

To improve your company’s website security and application systems, Logique Digital Indonesia is offering penetration testing services. We have an IT security team to help ensure that your website and applications don’t have security holes. Please contact us in order to improve your application or website’s cybersecurity.

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