Hackers use Coronavirus outbreak to spread PC malware

Trojan alert: Hackers misuse Coronavirus outbreak to spread PC malware

IBM's internet security team X-Force have unearthed a malicious campaign mis-using  a global public emergency to infect PCs with malware.

Cybercriminals are sending out emotet-laced emails with authentic-looking public service organisation logo and a warning message about the Coronavirus threats and prevention information to victims. Sadly, naive people believe it to be benign and click the link inside the package for more information to learn about how to prevent the spread of the virus and symtoms to look out for. Instead the link take them to a maliciuos website, which will allow hackers to install malware in to the PC without the users' knowledge.

What is Emotet?
Emotet is a banking trojan, which has been around since 2014. But, it has become more active in recent years affecting both individuals and corporate users. 

It mostly infect Windows-powered PCs to steal financial credentials. If the users are not vigilant enough, they are certain to lose money in their bank account before coming to the realisation of what hit them. 

"X-Force discovered the first campaign of this type, in which the outbreak of a biological virus is used as a means to distribute a computer virus. What makes these attacks rather special, is the fact that they deliver the Emotet trojan, which has shown increased activity recently," IBM security team said on the official blog.

As of now, the cybercriminals are targetting people in Japan. They are most likely to expand the cyber attack to other global regions in the coming weeks. So, people are advised to be vigilant when an email pops up in their email inbox.

It can be noted the hackers had applied similar trick with Greta Thunberg, teenage Climate change activist name's to propel Emotet to gullible users.

Read more | Hackers using Greta Thunberg name to inject PC malware

How to protect your PCs and mobile from trojans
1) Whether you have an Android mobile or iOS-based iPhone or  Windows-powered PCs or Mac computer, always update your devices with the latest software. All three Google, Microsoft, and Apple send regularly send firmware — especially security patches monthly or on a priority basis, whenever they detect threats. So, make sure you install the latest software.
2) Another good practice is to install a premium Antivirus software, which offers 24x7 protection. They are equipped to detect threats quickly whenever you unknowingly visit a shady website
3) Never ever open emails or SMS and click URL links sent from unknown senders 
4) Also, never install apps or software from unfamiliar publishers. 
5) Always download apps from Google Play or Apple App Store or Windows Store only. Never install from any third-party app store.

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