Spread awareness on cyber threats surrounding covid-19

COVID-19 Cyber Attacks

As a web security company, over the past weeks, we have been witnessing an increased amount of website exploitation attempts. Unfortunately, many threat actors have started to abuse the panic and discomfort of the COVID-19 pandemic to conduct special crafted malware and phishing attacks worldwide.

This page is a hand-curated list of the cyber attacks and threats related to the global pandemic.

As an increased amount of work now happens online, this page serves the purpose of making it easier to spread awareness. We welcome everyone to contribute with additional information and suggestions via the contact form below.

Date Threat description Type Warn your peers!
03.04 Malware spread via pirated COVID-19 themed WordPress plugins Malware
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Type: Malware

The WP-VCD malware for WordPress has existed for many years. It mainly spreads by injecting itself into legitimate plugins and themes after which it will spread itself on sites that offer downloads to (nulled) WordPress plugins and themes.

During the corona-virus pandemic, the WP-VCD malware has also started injecting itself into plugins that can show statistics related to the corona-virus.

Sites that spread malware infected nulled (pirated) WordPress plugins/themes:
- www[dot]downloadfreethemes[dot]co
- themesubmit[dot]com
- www[dot]downloadfreethemes[dot]space
- freesoft[dot]royalbeats[dot]in
- freedownloadthemes[dot]co
- raybans[dot]com[dot]co
- coursefree[dot]co

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02.04 Vulnerability Researchers Focus on Zoom App’s Security Misc

Type: Misc

As more and more people work from home, Zoom has become an essential tool for video conferences and meetings.

Over the past month, researchers have begun turning up security and privacy flaws in the application, which has had success as a brand during the pandemic.

The sudden popularity of Zoom has added to the scrutiny. Zoom's business has expanded from about 10 million meeting participants per day in December 2019 to more than 200 million meeting participants per day in March.

At least three issues have been publicized in the last month.

1. Zoom chat could be used to post links in the universal naming convention (UNC) format, which could be used to capture a username and password hash if a user clicked on a link that connected to a server message block (SMB) server.
2. Another researcher publicized two other issues with Zoom on the macOS operating system — a privilege escalation attack and a code injection attack.
3. There also was an example of exploiting the Zoom Windows client using UNC path injection to expose credentials for use in SMBRelay attacks.

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02.04 As unemployment claims soar, cyber workforce remains strong Misc

Type: Misc

Of the nearly 10 million Americans who recently have filed for unemployment insurance – 6.6 million this week and 3.3 million the week before – as the coronavirus pandemics shut down businesses and the economy, the cybersecurity workforce seemingly has been spared.

For companies that remain operational the need to have someone standing guard is even more important as criminals go after hospitals with ransomware attacks, targeting those expecting federal financial aid or offering phony retail advertisements via texting to coerce people into clicking.

Chris Morales, head of security analytics at Vectra, noted that much like those manning other frontline positions in the war on COVID-19 he is seeing security staffers working even harder right now.

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02.04 Hackers linked to Iran target WHO staff emails during coronavirus Targeted attack

Type: Targeted attack

Hackers working in the interests of the Iranian government have attempted to break into the personal email accounts of staff at the World Health Organization during the coronavirus outbreak, four people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Attacks show how the WHO and other organizations at the center of a global effort to contain the coronavirus have come under a sustained digital bombardment by hackers seeking information about the outbreak.

WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic confirmed that personal email accounts of WHO staff were being targeted by phishing attacks, but said the WHO did not know who was responsible. To the best of our knowledge, none of these hacking attempts were successful - he said.

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31.03 Coronavirus Trojan Overwriting The MBR Malware

Type: Malware

SonicWall Capture Labs Threat Research team recently found a new malware taking advantage of the CoViD19 pandemic which makes disks unusable by overwriting the MBR.

Upon execution, a number of helper files are dropped inside a temporary folder. You can see the infection cycle explained with details from the article.

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31.03 Criminals Resurrect A Banking Trojan To Push COVID-19 Relief Payment Scam Ransomware

Type: Ransomware

Bad actors around the globe are doing everything they can to capitalize on Coronavirus fears. They’re using every tool at their disposal including some that haven’t been seen for several years. Compromised systems become host to a banking Trojan. IBM X-Force notes that, like the version of Zeus Sphinx that went dormant three years ago, the current campaign is focusing on U.S., Canadian, and Australian bank accounts.

An example phishing email shared by the researchers reveals a relatively unsophisticated attack. While there are no glaring spelling or grammar mistakes to tip off would-be victims, the attachment itself is a giant red flag. Even if you were to open the attached document, there’s another red flag inside. The booby-trapped Word document asks recipients to enable macros.

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30.03 Indian Cybercrime Officials Release a List of Potentially Dangerous Coronavirus-related Domains Phishing

Type: Phishing

The cybercrime division of New Delhi, India, warned the public to be vigilant about malicious Coronavirus-related websites. The officials also tweeted a list of fake or potentially dangerous websites, urging people not to click on them.

Following domains are listed as potentially dangerous:

coronavirusstatus[.]space
coronavirus-map[.]com
canalcero[.]digital
coronavirus[.]zone
coronavirus-realtime[.]com
coronavirus[.]app
coronavirusaware[.]xyz
coronavirusaware[.]xyz
corona-virus[.]healthcare
survivecoronavirus[.]org
vaccine-coronavirus[.]com
coronavirus[.]cc
bestcoronavirusprotect[.]tk
coronavirusupdate[.]tk

“Fake links related to the pandemic are sent by criminals claiming to be health authorities, with the aim of tricking victims into connecting to a specific webpage and to log in their real email address and password. Scammers then use their credentials to access sensitive information and potentially to steal their money.”

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30.03 Phishing Attack Says You’re Exposed to Coronavirus, Spreads Malware Malware

Type: Malware

Cybercriminals are using a new phishing campaign that tells victims they've come in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19 and tricks them into downloading malware.

The campaign pretends to be from a local hospital telling the recipient that they have been exposed to the Coronavirus and that they need to be tested.

The text of this email reads:

Dear XXX

You recently came into contact with a colleague/friend/family member who has COVID-19 at Taber AB, please print the attached form that has your information prefilled and proceed to the nearest emergency clinic.

Maria xxx
The Ottawa Hospital General Campus
501 Smyth Rd, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L6, Canada

When a user opens the attachment. they will be prompted to 'Enable Content' to view the protected document.
If a user enables content, malicious macros will be executed to download a malware executable to the computer and launch it.

The installed malware performs behaviors like searching for cryptocurrency wallets, stealing web browser cookies, gets a list of programs running on the computer and more.

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30.03 Phishing Attacks Increase 350 Percent Amid COVID-19 Quarantine Malware, Phishing

Type: Malware, Phishing

According to a report from Google, these nefarious actors are proving to be very successful. Google found there were 149,195 active phishing websites in January. That number rose by 50 percent in February to 293,235 websites. Now, in March, there are 522,495—a 350 percent increase since the beginning of the year.

A major factor in the rise of these scams is fake COVID-19 websites, which may promise a cure or treatment in exchange for personal information. A security company has tracked coronavirus keywords to determine that over 300,000 suspicious COVID-19 websites have been created between March 9 and March 23.


What can you do about these phishing attacks?

- Pay attention to the websites you go to—the URL is usually a dead giveaway.
- Open only those emails that come from a trusted source.
- Use a password manager.
- Use a VPN to keep your information safe and privacy intact.

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30.03 Investigate | COVID-19 Cybercrime Daily Update Misc

Type: Misc

RiskIQ’s team of trained intelligence analysts began compiling disparate data and intelligence related to COVID-19 into comprehensive daily reports.

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25.03 F-secure summary of COVID-19 email attacks Scam

Type: Scam

F-Secure has observed more and more coronavirus-themed attacks appearing in the wild. While people across the globe are beginning to restrict their movements in hope of curbing the spread of the coronavirus, spammers and phishers are out in full force. They want to take advantage of the online demand for information about the pandemic.

Here are the categories which are covered:
- Malspam campaigns
- Mask scams

Malware that’s been employed in these campaigns include:
- Emotet and Trickbot: modular threats that deliver different payloads to different targets. Emotet was originally a banking trojan that was updated/upgraded to include new capabilities, such as infostealing and malware delivery. It is known to deliver Trickbot, which then delivers Ryuk ransomware.
- Agent Tesla: an infostealer that has keylogging capabilities for stealing email credentials and passwords from browsers.
- Formbook: an infostealer that collects victim’s sensitive information, such as passwords/credentials from browsers.
- Lokibot: an infostealer that collects email credentials and passwords from browsers, FTP clients and CryptoCoin wallets.
- Remcos RAT: a remote access tool used by cyber criminals that allows attacker to control a victim’s system remotely, and execute commands.

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25.03 Fake HM Government SMS / website scam Scam

Type: Scam

Kieren Niĉolas, a cybersecurity specialist, who specialises in Incident Response (CSIRT/CERT) warns people about a number of large scale campaigns to phish users, using their anxiety with short term funding problems. SMS message impersonates HM Governments to send out malicious link with a cloned HM Governments website with a message to offer financial support due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Kieren adds: The site has been marked by all major browsers as deceptive, and we have taken steps to shut down the site, along with many others. However, people with older, unsupported phones with out of date browsers may still be able to see the site. Please make sure you talk to older loved ones, and they will still be vulnerable.

Quick advice on any messages regarding this:
- Read it fully
- Pause
- Get someone else to read it
- Double-check the URL
- Report it

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23.03 Coronavirusmedicalkit.com “predatory wire fraud scheme” shut down Scam

Type: Scam

A website claiming to offer a coronavirus vaccine has been taken offline after the US Department of Justice (DoJ) filed its first enforcement action to combat fraud relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. The operators of the website ‘coronavirusmedicalkit.com’ are accused of engaging in a “predatory wire fraud scheme” seeking to profit from the confusion and widespread fear surrounding the disease. “Information published on the website claimed to offer consumers access to World Health Organization (WHO) vaccine kits in exchange for a shipping charge of $4.95,” the DoJ said.

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22.03 COVID-19: Impact on the Cyber Security Threat Landscape Study

Type: Study

Society as we know it is experiencing one of the worst pandemics of this century. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact in the world and has grinded several countries to a standstill already.

During these times cyber security is of even more importance,as the environment is just right for cyber criminals to strike. This paper examines the cyber security threat landscape during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper takes a snapshot in time as to where we are now, and how has COVID-19 impacted the cyber security threat landscape so far. Society has seen a massive increase on the front of cyber security attacks during this pandemic and this paper aims to investigate this. This paper provides all the current trends of cyber security attacks during this pandemic and how the attacks have changed between different pandemics. The impact of COVID-19 on society, from a cyber security threat land-scape perspective is also provided and a discussion on why cyber security education is still of utmost importance. Education, as always, seems to be the number one means on how to prevent cyber security threats.

According to the authors, the main contribution to the increase in the cyber security threat landscape is there mere fact that:
1. Society has a heightened dependency on digital infrastructure;
2. Working from home has not been fully trailed by all organisations before;
3. The massive reliance on the online connectivity and network infrastructure of every country;
4. The curious nature of the human psyche, especially in times of uncertainty;
5. Society is spending most of their time consuming online services, which in turn could lead to riskier behaviour;
6. Individuals whom are not necessarily ‘tech savvy’ have to suddenly become accustomed to using technology for their daily lives;

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21.03 Malwarebytes explains coronavirus scams Scam, Phishing

Type: Scam, Phishing

In the past week, Malwarebytes discovered multiple email scams that prey on the fear, uncertainty, and confusion regarding COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus. The problem expands beyond pure phishing scams.

Malwarebytes has put together an article where they showcase different scam, phishing and malspam examples. It's valuable read and gives you a glimpse of what those impersonating emails and phishing emails look like.

You will see examples of:
- Impersonation of the World Health Organization (WHO) employees
- Phishing emails asking to act fast (before banks close)
- Email with a file for a quick remedy for Coronavirus which actually includes malicious .doc file
- Email that reports latest cases near you with a malicious .xls file
- Email in Spanish that also spreads malware

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20.03 Coronavirus Sets the Stage for Hacking Mayhem Misc

Type: Misc

Rapid changes to daily life during the pandemic have also changed how people interact with internet-connected technologies. Without time to develop tailored defenses, that also means new exposures and risks.

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20.03 Coronavirus Used in Malicious Campaigns Malware

Type: Malware

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is being used in a variety of malicious campaigns including email spam, BEC, malware, ransomware, and malicious domains.

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20.03 US authorities battle surge in coronavirus scams, from phishing to fake treatments Phishing

Type: Phishing

The rise in scams has come in the form of email phishing campaigns, fraudulent goods, and disinformation campaigns, according to a report released this week from Digital Shadows, a San Francisco cybersecurity company.

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20.03 How to Recognize Malicious Coronavirus Phishing Scams Phishing

Type: Phishing

This blogpost provides an overview to help you fight against phishing attacks and malware, examples of phishing messages we’ve seen in the wild related to coronavirus and COVID-19, and specific scenarios to look out for (such as if you work in a hospital, are examining maps of the spread of the virus, or are using your phone to stay informed).

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20.03 COVID-19 Scams Are Everywhere Right Now. Here’s How to Protect Yourself? Phishing

Type: Phishing

Here’s what to know about the COVID-19 scams out there, as well as some precautionary measures you can take to avoid being scammed during the coronavirus outbreak.

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20.03 Malware called BlackWater pretending to be COVID-19 information Malware

Type: Malware

Recently MalwareHunterTeam discovered a RAR file being distributed pretending to be information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) called "Important - COVID-19.rar". When opened, the malware will extract a Word document to the %UserProfile%\downloads folder called "Important - COVID-19.docx.docx" and opens it in Word. The opened document is a document containing information on the COVID-19 virus and is being used by the malware as a decoy as it installs the rest of the malware and executes it on the computer.

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20.03 Coronavirus: Huge Surge in Fake News on Facebook, WhatsApp in India Fake news

Type: Fake news

The enormous surge in fake news, video clips, GIFs and also authentic-looking federal government alerts connected to coronavirus (COVID-19) in India has actually left countless customers, civil culture participants, reporters and also authorities totally frustrated and also caught, beginning with panic getting throughout the nation.

“There is a deluge of fake information on Facebook and WhatsApp as India fights this global health pandemic. Dedicated cybercriminal groups are spreading panic and the Indian government is helpless. Daily supplies are getting over fast as cybercriminals piggybacked on Dr Trehan’s popularity to send fake letter out and created panic,” Pavan Duggal, among the country’s leading cyber regulation professionals, informed IANS.

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20.03 Phishing email impersonating WHO chief begins to circulate Phishing

Type: Phishing

Hospital workers should be cautious of a new phishing email that is impersonating the World Health Organization Director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

IBM’s X-Force discovered the phishing scheme. The emails are being sent to people in personalized messages, addressing the recipient by a username found in the email address. If a person opens the spam email and clicks on the attachment, malware is spread onto the computer. The HawkEye malware is capable of stealing credentials from the computer. “It is remarkable how threat actors play with the fears and hopes of their potential victims. Speaking of prevention drugs and cures in an email that is spoofed to appear directly from the director of the WHO, in this current situation is expected to be highly successful,” the IBM X-Force team concluded.

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19.03 Cybercriminals are using COVID-19 discount codes to sell malware and fake items Malware

Type: Malware

According to the latest research by security firm Checkpoint, hackers are using “COVID-19” code to sell malware and exploitation tools on the dark web.For example, below is a Facebook account hacking tool sold for $300 with “a 15% coronavirus discount.”

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19.03 New Coronavirus Warning: Beware These ‘COVID-19 Discounts’—The Most Dangerous Deals Online Misc

Type: Misc

Hackers are now offering “COVID-19 discount codes” to encourage armies of newbies to buy their exploits and take up the trade.

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19.03 Coronavirus: Malwarebytes identifies new e-book phishing scam impersonating the WHO Phishing

Type: Phishing

Security researchers from Malwarebytes have identified a new phishing campaign. This latest email scam impersonates the World Health Organization (WHO) in an attempt to entice users to download a free e-book.

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19.03 Hackers Promise ‘No More Healthcare Cyber Attacks’ During COVID-19 Crisis Misc

Type: Misc

As leading cybercrime gangs promise not to attack healthcare organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, can we take them at their word?

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19.03 Food Delivery Service in Germany Under DDoS Attack Targeted Attack

Type: Targeted Attack

The measures adopted by the country to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus have a drastic impact on social life. Yet cybercriminals have launched a distributed denial-of-service attack on the website demanding 2 bitcoins (around $11,000) to stop the siege.

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19.03 As coronavirus crisis worsens, hacking is increasing, security experts say Misc

Type: Misc

A security firm said hacking threats on systems it monitors have increased 15% a month since the beginning of the year, and so far in March, they've jumped 20%.

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19.03 COVID-19 Impact: As Retailers Close their Doors, Hackers Open for Business Misc

Type: Misc

Hackers around the globe are taking advantage of the Covid-19 outbreak by accelerating their activities to spread their own infections.

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19.03 Coronavirus pandemic makes U.S. more vulnerable to serious cyberattack Misc

Type: Misc

The United States is increasingly vulnerable to a cyberattack targeting hospitals, food supplies or other vital functions during the coronavirus pandemic, lawmakers and experts say. They're calling on the Trump administration to take bold action to keep adversaries at bay.

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19.03 Cyberattack on Czech hospital forces tech shutdown during coronavirus outbreak Malware

Type: Malware

Brno University Hospital in the Czech Republic was hit by a major cyberattack on 12 and 13 March, causing an immediate computer shutdown in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.

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19.03 ‘Dirty little secret’ extortion email threatens to give your family coronavirus Phishing

Type: Phishing

Sophos Security team just sent us a phish they received that shows the stakes just got a lot higher and way more offensive. The price is $4000, and if you don’t pay then they’re threatening to infect your family with coronavirus.

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19.03 Bluffton Township Fire District systems hacked during declared emergency Targeted attack

Type: Targeted attack

BLUFFTON, S.C. (WTGS) — On March 15, the Bluffton Township Fire District's electronic systems were hacked. The hacking incident in no way interfering with emergency response times. The problem is impacting documentation and internal communication on the administrative side.

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18.03 Online scammers target vulnerable Internet users during coronavirus outbreak Phishing

Type: Phishing

“Scammers have already devised numerous methods for defrauding people in connection with COVID-19,” the statement reads. “They are setting up websites, contacting people by phone and email, and posting disinformation on social media platforms.”

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18.03 Coronavirus Scam Alert: COVID-19 Map Malware Can Spy On You Through Your Android Microphone And Camera Malware

Type: Malware

Watch out for any links texted to your Android phone promising an app to track coronavirus. Downloading the application will let snoops watch you through your smartphone camera, listen to you through your microphone or pilfer all your text messages.

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18.03 Trickbot, Emotet Malware Use Coronavirus News to Evade Detection Malware

Type: Malware

The TrickBot and Emotet Trojans have started to add text from Coronavirus news stories to attempt to bypass security software using artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect malware.

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18.03 Hackers Hide Malware C2 Communication By Faking News Site Traffic Malware

Type: Malware

A cyber-espionage group active since at least 2012 used a legitimate tool to shield their backdoor from analysis attempts to avoid detection.

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18.03 Thousands of COVID-19 scam and malware sites are being created on a daily basis Malware

Type: Malware

Most of these sites are being used to host phishing attacks, distribute malware-laced files, or for financial fraud, for tricking users into paying for fake COVID-19 cures, supplements, or vaccines.

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18.03 Android malware uses coronavirus for sextortion and ransomware combo Malware

Type: Malware

Like many other cyber threats doing the rounds these days, the criminals have used the coronavirus pandemic as a lure, offering an intriguing if rather creepy app called COVID 19 TRACKER.

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17.03 Coronavirus: Israel enables emergency spy powers Misc

Type: Misc

The Israeli government has approved emergency measures for its security agencies to track the mobile-phone data of people with suspected coronavirus.

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17.03 Nation-Backed Hackers Spread Crimson RAT via Coronavirus Phishing Phishing

Type: Phishing

A state-sponsored threat actor is attempting to deploy the Crimson Remote Administration Tool (RAT) onto the systems of targets via a spear-phishing campaign using Coronavirus-themed document baits disguised as health advisories.

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17.03 Why cybersecurity matters more than ever during the coronavirus pandemic Misc

Type: Misc

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt global health, economic, political and social systems, there's another unseen threat rising in the digital space: the risk of cyberattacks that prey on our increased reliance on digital tools and the uncertainty of the crisis.

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16.03 Argentinean Gov’t Blockchain Hacked to Spread Face News on Coronavirus Targeted attack

Type: Targeted attack

The Argentine government confirmed on March 14 that they suffered a hack on the website of their official gazette (Boletin Official). The compromise resulted in false statements regarding the coronavirus.

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16.03 Will Coronavirus Lead to More Cyber Attacks? Misc

Type: Misc

While the world is focused on the systemic threat posed by Covid-19, cyber criminals around the world undoubtedly are poised to capitalize on the crisis by launching a different kind of “virus.”

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16.03 A COVID-19 Cybersecurity Poll: Securing a Remote Workforce Misc

Type: Misc

COVID-19 is changing how we work. Weigh in on how your organization is securing its remote footprint with our short Threatpost poll.

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16.03 Cyber criminals exploit coronavirus disruption Malware

Type: Malware

Cyber criminals and hacking groups are exploiting disruption caused by the coronavirus through a range of phishing and malware attacks which are likely to proliferate as the outbreak intensifies, UK security officials have warned.

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16.03 UK intelligence agency warns of cybercriminals exploiting the Coronavirus outbreak Malware

Type: Malware

A division of GCHQ (Britain’s equivalent to the NSA) has warned the public to be on their guard against cyber criminals exploiting the Coronavirus outbreak.

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14.03 COVID-19 Testing Center Hit By Cyberattack Targeted Attack

Type: Targeted Attack

Computer systems at the University Hospital Brno in the Czech Republic have been shut down on Friday due to a cyberattack that struck in the wee hours of the day.

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13.03 Coronavirus: How hackers are preying on fears of Covid-19 Phishing

Type: Phishing

Cyber-criminals are targeting individuals as well as industries, including aerospace, transport, manufacturing, hospitality, healthcare and insurance. Phishing emails written in English, French, Italian, Japanese, and Turkish languages have been found.

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13.03 Coronavirus tracking app locks up Android phones for ransom Ransomware

Type: Ransomware

This Android ransomware application, previously unseen in the wild, has been titled “CovidLock” because of the malware’s capabilities and its background story. CovidLock uses techniques to deny the victim access to their phone by forcing a change in the password used to unlock the phone. This is also known as a screen-lock attack and has been seen before on Android ransomware.

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11.03 Hackers are using coronavirus maps to infect your computer Malware

Type: Malware

Several organisations have made dashboards to keep track of COVID-19. But now, hackers have found a way to use these dashboards to inject malware into computers.

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09.03 COVID-19 boosts remote work, security concerns Misc

Type: Misc

With the instances of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases increasing by the day, organisations in affected countries across the globe are instructing their employees to work remotely. However, offering this option without proper oversight or preparation is raising security concerns.

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