Technology 2 min read

Hackers are Creating Fake Coronavirus Maps to Spread Malware

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DigitalMammoth /

According to a security researcher at Reason Labs, hackers are using coronavirus maps to infect computers with malware.

More cases of the Coronavirus are occurring outside China, where the virus originated.

In the United States, over 2,000 people are either confirmed or presumed positive for the novel coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Italian civil protection authority said the number of confirmed cases in the country has risen to 24, 747.

As the outbreak threatens to evolve into a global epidemic, it becomes necessary to keep a close eye on its spread. That’s why several organizations have created dashboards for COVID-19. It’s a useful way to keep track of how the virus is spreading across the globe.

Unfortunately, a recent post on The Next Web suggests that hackers are creating fake Coronavirus maps to infect users with malware.

A security researcher at Reason Labs, Shai Alfasi, found how attackers use the maps to steal personal information. These include user names, passwords, credit card details, among others.

But how?

Using Coronavirus Maps to Steal User Information

First, attackers design a website that’s related to the current outbreak. Then, when users visit the site, it recommends that they download an application to remain up-to-date on the situation.

Although the map shows a map of how COVID-19 is spreading, Alfasi points out that it’s a front. Attackers use the app to generate a malicious binary file and install it on your computer.

The security researcher further explained that the method used malicious software called AZORult, first discovered in 2016. Aside from stealing user data, the software can also infect a system with other malware.

Speaking to The Next Web about AZORult, Shai Alfasi said:

“It is used to steal browsing history, cookies, ID/passwords, cryptocurrency, and more. It can also download additional malware onto infected machines. Russian underground forums sell AZORult to collect sensitive data from an infected computer.”

As essential as it is to gain information about the Coronavirus outbreak, you must use verified dashboards only.

At the moment, the malware only affects Microsoft’s Windows operating system. However, the security researcher expects that the exploit could soon extend to other systems.

Read More: Hackers are Currently Exploiting These WordPress Plugins

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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