The sudden outbreak of Coronavirus infection has taken the world by surprise. In order to fight against the disease, people are trying to keep themselves updated on any news related to the same. However, cybercriminals are using this as an opportunity to lure people into their scams.

Here is a concise guide to help you understand more about online Coronavirus scams:

What Is A Coronavirus Scam?

Coronavirus scams are similar to other malware scams. The attackers trick the users into opening infected documents and files under the pretext of offering more information about the virus. Once a user clicks to open these files, the malware is downloaded and installed.

What Are The Commonly Used Pretexts?

The scammers may pose as healthcare officials and offer information related to symptoms or prevention of the coronavirus infection. Alternatively, some scams use the disguise of documents offering update information on the number of infection cases or death tolls across the globe. The scammers use threat headlines that state the viral infection has spread to the victim’s home city and motivate the victim to enter his details for reading more information.

Some scammers are preying on the people’s willingness to provide support to infected patients. Such scam emails may be titled “URGENT: Coronavirus Spreads – Can we count on your support today?”

How Do These Scams Operate?

There are two main types of scams being launched by cybercriminals: Email scams and website scams.

  • Email Scams: The scammers send out emails that may offer more information about the coronavirus infection or provide a link to donate for supporting the affected patients. In either case, the email includes a disguised link for further information. The link usually starts with ‘HXXP’ instead of ‘HTTP/ HTTPS’. Once the victim clicks on the link, it opens a form or application page. This form is programmed with malicious code to steal personal information and credit card details.
  • Website Scams: A simple example of a website based scam was recently discovered. The website purported to provide an updated number of coronavirus cases on a global map. However, it was embedded with an info-stealer. The code had a hidden file with the name ‘corona.exe’. Further research indicated that this malware is a variant of the malware AzoreUlt.

Irrespective of the mode of infection (email or website), the malware is focused on stealing personal information or gaining remote access to the victim’s computer system.

How To Secure Yourself Against Coronavirus Scams?

  • If you receive an email, check the sender’s email domain and other URLs included in the email to see if they match the name of the organization that the sender claims to be associated with. You should not be clicking on the URLs without verifying the geniunity.
  • Be wary of login pages with unfamiliar URLs.
  • Instead of clicking any hyperlinks provided in the email, copy and paste the URLs into your browser.
  • If any email or website creates a pressure on you to act immediately, refrain from it.

For more information on Online Scams and how to stay alert, call Centex Technologies at (254) 213 – 4740.