There's no doubt that the Coronavirus has created a worldwide hysteria and pandemic from having a negative impact on many economies to pressing government officials to hold conferences addressing the public on how to protect themselves. However, on the front of computer security, the Wuhan Coronavirus is having a dire impact on the tech world where cybercrooks are exploiting the COVID-19 Coronavirus to spread the known threats of Remcos, Emotet, and Lokibot, which are various types of data-stealing malware.
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stepped in to warn computer users of continuous scams that tout phishing campaigns to spread malware threats. These campaigns are ones that are using Coronavirus to lure inquiring minds through emails or sites that impersonate organizations relevant to issuing the latest warnings about Coronavirus, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Not only have the targets taken advantage of the CDC in the United States, but they have done the same in other countries like the UK, Japan, China, and Ukraine where some of their Ministry of Health organizations were ones being leveraged.
The Coronavirus remains to be a global health crisis, and the scams, as warned by the FTC, are expanding – faster than the Coronavirus is spreading to humans where cybercrooks are taking to emails, phishing campaigns, text messages, and even social media platforms to spread their malware threats.
CDC's February 2020 map of countries that have someone infected with Coronavirus
In looking at the threats being spread via Coronavirus-leveraged phishing techniques, Remcos, Emotet, and Lokibot are particular threats that may have once been based on legitimate applications or resources. However, many times hackers take a legitimate application and recreate it to perform malicious actions, such as in the case of these threats – steal data from an infected system. Cybercrooks and hackers behind the exploitation of Coronavirus to spread malware have been recently inspired by all of the news press and attention that Coronavirus is receiving as of late. Therefore, it only makes perfect sense for them to ride the coattail of the Coronavirus' worldwide spread and leverage computer users who inquire about the virus and in return infect their computers with malware.
Time will give away as to how far cybercrooks take their efforts to exploit Coronavirus, which is essentially inevitable due to experts showing no major slowdown in the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus. While COVID-19 Coronavirus is an unfortunate virus that has flu-like symptoms, a lot is unknown about the virus, and it could linger on for many months giving a clear path for hackers to manipulate the growing population of concerned citizens in just about every corner of the world. For now, it's best to become educated on all fronts, not just the COVID-19 Coronavirus side of things but also in the computer world to look out for the next explosion of malware that leverages Coronavirus.