How coronavirus is spreading from human beings to our devices

It has become common that cybercriminals try to take advantage of relevant facts and globally relevant issues to deploy malicious campaigns that are attractive to unsuspecting users. This time, an information security firm has detected multiple malicious emails deceiving victims with alleged information regarding the recent coronavirus outbreak.

As readers may already know, coronavirus has infected nearly 7,000 people worldwide, of whom 170 have ended up in the patient’s death. Because of the outbreak, thousands of people around the world are browsing the Internet looking for information related to the disease at all times.

One of the hacker groups trying to take advantage of this situation has been detected operating in Japan. IBM X-Force Threat Intelligence information security experts have detected multiple attack attempts in some of the most populous prefectures in the Asian country, sending alleged reports from health authorities in Japan to randomly selected users. These messages include attachments that contain supposed additional details about this virus.

In fact, these attachments (usually PDF files or Word documents) contain malicious payload variants of the dangerous Emotet malware, used by hackers to steal login credentials, collect browser data and private documents.

Moreover, Kaspersky’s information security researchers have detected similar campaigns in other regions of the world, although the premise is the same: sending malicious files disguised as information related to coronavirus outbreak. These malicious files are not only found as Word documents or PDFs, but hackers also attempt with Excel, Power Point and even mp4 files.

Among the threats exposed to users who receive and interact with these emails is the destruction, blocking or modification of their files, as well as various alterations in the operation of a computer or network.

This is not the first time that a hacker group is detected trying to profit from some relevant incident: news about terrorist attacks, natural disasters, economic crises, among others, are all the time associated with malicious campaigns of this type. Other cases, such as international sporting events (Olympic Games, World Cups, among others) are also employed by hackers to try to infect as many people as possible.