Coronavirus outbreak has given opportunities for bad actors to distribute malware via the internet. Scammers are using fear mongering as a tactic to spread malware during the outbreak. Unsuspecting victims are being sent an email that warns of coronavirus being discovered in their local area. The email contains an attachment with details about various measures to prevent infection. However, cybersecurity experts have noted that the attached file contains a dangerous type of malware.
According to Australia’s 9News, the malware is capable of stealing banking logins, financial data and even emptying your cryptocurrency wallets. The trojan known as Emotet is reportedly attached in the disguise of pdf, mp4 and docx files. Those who open the document are immediately infected with this malware. It can even go undetected by antivirus software installed on your device. Emotet can also forward itself to every email contact of the victim. This nature of the trojan makes it capable of further spreading the malware.
Fake Coronavirus Email: How to protect yourself
This means that recipients will end up clicking on the link since they trust the sender. However, they are not aware that they are essentially granting access to a trojan. The report further notes that different iterations of this mail have been discovered by cybersecurity firms IBM X-Force and Kaspersky. The emails are also being said to have been sent in several different languages. Security experts warned that it’s “quite common for threat actors to exploit basic human emotions such as fear – especially if a global event has already caused terror and panic”.
“What makes these attacks rather special, is the fact that they deliver the Emotet trojan, which has shown increased activity recently,” security researchers at IBM X-Force said in a statement. Anton Ivanov, malware analyst at Kaspersky said the cybersecurity company had found 10 different files containing this malware. They expect this number to grow in the next few weeks. “As people continue to be worried for their health, we may see more and more malware hidden inside fake documents about the coronavirus being spread,” Ivanov said.
The spread of Emotet is already being classified as a “significant cyber incident” by leading agencies. Experts warn people from clicking on suspicious links and it is recommended to examine the attached file. “Documents and video files must not have an .exe or .lnk format,” Ivanov explained. Before opening any attachment, check the sender’s email address. Look for spelling mistakes or grammatical errors in the email. Click on attachments from trusted senders. It is also recommended that you scan files before installing any .exe file.