Fake COVID-19 Apps Load Ransomware On Devices

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The security community is warning users of smartphones that hackers are developing fake COVID-19 apps that load ransomware on devices. These apps claim to provide information relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak but in reality, malware is installed onto the device.

Fake COVID-19 apps

According to information security provider ZScaler, hackers have been preying on people’s fears of the coronavirus by creating apps with features too good to be true. One such fake app claims to notify users as soon as anyone infected with the virus is nearby. The app locks the victim’s phone and demands for a ransom to lift the encryption.

Fake purchasing apps

Another app, claims to tell you where to buy N-95 masks. This is a hoax – the moment a user downloads and installs the app, it attempts to corrupt or encrypts data on your smartphone or laptop. Some versions of the app then ask for bitcoin deposits to unlock the data.

The security company, Lookout, identified an application that is essentially a copy of the legitimate coronavirus tracker maintained by Johns Hopkins University. However, this copy installs Trojan malware when the user installs the application.

Fake COVID-19 emails

Fake mobile apps are not the only thing threatening users – emails on the subject of the coronavirus have also become another outlet for malware. Emails with document attachments claiming to have a list of precautionary measures against the infection can be phishing attempts warned Quick Heal Security Labs director Himanshu Dubey.

“We see links or attachments that deliver information-stealing malware which can steal the person’s website and bank credentials,” Dubey told ETtech.

COVID-19 and the hacking problem

Cyber attackers have become very good at latching on to any local or global event once it gains traction. It is therefore vital that users double-check emails and applications they intend to install for obvious signs of them being a hoax or known malware. 

If you would like any additional information about keeping your data safe, contact ABACON IT on 021-761-9071 or post your comment.