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Hackers are using coronavirus scare to send you a notorious virus. Here’s how you can avoid it


By: Tech Desk | New Delhi |

Published: February 19, 2020 9:19:34 pm


Coronavirus, Coronavirus malware, Coronavirus hackers, Coronavirus fake news, Coronavirus scam These mails look quite legitimate as the hackers forge official mailing addresses, phone, and fax numbers of the institutions they claim they belong to. (Image: Thinkstock, Getty)

With the coronavirus outbreak in China showing no signs of abating any time soon, hackers have found ways to make it serve as an enabler for their activities. Multiple instances of malicious and automated emails with a theme of coronavirus have been reported in several places.

The most prominent case of the coronavirus-themed campaign is targetted towards Japan, distributing notorious Emotet trojan in email attachments. The mails are impersonating a Japanese disability welfare service provider and report on the areas in Japan where the virus is spreading. Some of these mails also consist of information on prevention and precaution of the virus. These mails contain a document that installs Emotet on to the victim’s PC if opened.

These mails look quite legitimate as the hackers forge official mailing addresses, phone, and fax numbers of the institutions they claim they belong to.

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Emotet is an advanced trojan that is self-propagating and modular. It was originally a banking trojan, however, it now has been modified as a distributor of other malware or malicious campaigns. It goes undetected as it uses various evasion techniques.

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The mails when opened have ‘macros’ enabled, which infuse with an obfuscated VBA macro script. They further open Powershell and, download and install an Emotet downloader in the background. They then add malicious trojan and worm malware, which is capable of annihilating sensitive data and tamper with computers and networks meant for business and personal use.

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According to Quick Heal, here are a few safety tips to protect against the same:

* Open emails titled ‘Coronavirus‘ with precaution.

* Do not download any files from such emails, whether they be in .PDF, .MP4 or .DOC.

* Carefully examine the email ID you have received the mail from.

* Look out for educational videos pertaining to coronavirus.

* Do not read such mails and fall for fake news about the virus.

* Keep away from knowledge sharing emails about the virus outbreak.

According to Counterpoint, apart from these mails, many domains have also been registered related to the virus, which try and exploit the panic amongst people. Many of these domains are trying to execute phishing attempts. Other websites are trying to scam people by claiming to sell face masks, vaccines, and home tests.

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© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd

Updated: February 19, 2020 — 5:18 pm

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