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If something can be said about cyber criminals, it’s that they are always up to date with what’s going on in the world. Whenever something happens that they can use in their own phishing actions, you can be sure that they will exploit it. Be it Black Friday, tax season, destructive plane crashes, you name it. They use whatever is in the news and people’s minds to help them with their malicious actions. The latest trend is coronavirus scam emails.

The concerning topics, like coronavirus, are used to make people open links and attachments sent in spam emails. Criminals mask them to look like they include important and interesting information about contemporary worldwide topics. When opened, these attachments can infect users with malware.

Coronavirus is used for scam campaigns

Not only does coronavirus threaten human lives and impact economies, it can have an effect on your computer as well. In a way. The outbreak of coronavirus has led to scam campaigns which use people’s fear and concern about the virus as fuel. Web criminals are sending emails that include for example “important information” and “instructions on how to stay safe” in attached documents. These documents will then trigger automatic commands for your computer to download for example Emotet malware, among others.

The scam emails are typically masked to look like they are sent by a trusted source, like the authorities. These scam campaigns started out in China, but they are spreading around the world fast. USA and Japan have already faced such scam campaigns. Other countries will likely be infected too.

Scam campaigns need people to take action

Coronavirus is a particularly effective topic for malicious actors to use. The situation is developing all the time. The possibility for the virus to spread keeps people concerned around the world. Exploiting fear is a very common method scammers use.

And as coronavirus can spread to further locations, so can the scam campaigns. In order for these scam campaigns to succeed, they need your help. As always, be on your guard for any suspicious emails. Don’t open any attachments or links you don’t trust. And even then, think twice.

We can only hope that the coronavirus situation ends soon. Meanwhile, you can keep yourself safe from the scammers. Use antivirus software, like F-Secure’s award-winning SAFE, which runs scans in real time for malware. It also blocks known phishing sites.

Luciano Hernández

10.02.20 1 min. read

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