Hackers use coronavirus tracker maps to spread malware

PLDT bans Zoom due risks

Hackers have shown no mercy as the world faces yet another dramatic twist from the global coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. As the ongoing pandemic continues to affect individuals and businesses, hackers see this as an opportunity to capitalize on people’s growing fear.

Hackers seizing on coronavirus pandemic

With the increasing public fear stoked by the global outbreak, this has prompted people to turn to real-time COVID-19 tracker dashboards to stay updated.

Different organizations have created coronavirus tracking maps to guide people and provide information regarding the infected areas across the globe. Institutions including John Hopkins University have created dashboards to track the spread of COVID-19.

However, findings from cybersecurity firm Reason Labs show that the hackers are setting up malicious sites with fake coronavirus tracking maps that infect visitors’ devices with malware and enable them to hack private information, including bank accounts and credit card details.

Previously, hackers launched coronavirus email phishing campaigns, through which they infect user systems with malware.

Hackers use AZORult information stealer software

Alfasi further noted that hackers are using software named AZORult, which is an information stealer used to hack browsing data, ID and passwords, cookies, cryptocurrencies, and much more. Here’s how hackers use this software:

  • The strategy of hackers is to circulate links of such sites disguised as coronavirus maps on different social platforms or via fake emails.
  • As someone visits those malicious sites, their system becomes vulnerable and open to AZORult that helps the hackers gain access to all the information resided on their systems.
  • AZORult new variant installs a secret admin account on the computer system that carries out remote attacks.

Warning: expect more malware scams as pandemic fears increase

The researcher Shai Alfasi from Reason Labs stated that this technique of hacking is very common and warned that there might be an increase in COVID-19 malware and its variants in the days to come.

As the tension of coronavirus is increasing day by day, more people are likely to get trapped by malware. At the start of this month, research from Check Point recorded that around 50% of people are likely to install COVID-19 malware on their systems.

In the last few weeks, the officials from the U.S. have warned about suspicious actors seeking to benefit from global coronavirus concerns by extracting sensitive information or peddling fraudulent products.

To enhance system security, people must identify fake websites that may show legitimate COVID-19 dashboards. It is strongly advised that users stick with certified dashboards such as one from John Hopkins University or the New York Times.

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