People Are Using a Live Coronavirus Map to Distribute Malware, Because They Suck

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Johns Hopkins University has provided a valuable resource for tracking novel Coronavirus infections, deaths and recoveries across the world from a single dashboard. Unfortunately it's not just valuable for people monitoring the pandemic--KrebsOnSecurity reported that malware distributors are using it to find victims.

The report indicated that cyber criminals have started to sell infection kits featuring this Coronavirus-tracking dashboard for anywhere from $200 to $700. Buyers could use those kits in malicious websites and emails to infect systems with the AZORult malware. Tracking a physical infection could lead to contracting a digital one.

Cylance explained in June 2019 that AZORult can be used to "steal personal information such as passwords, cookies, browsing history, and more" from infected systems. That sensitive information could then be abused by the attackers or bundled with other stolen data so it can be sold on illicit marketplaces.

This isn't the first time the Coronavirus outbreak has been used to spread malware. Spammers actually started taking advantage of it in January by claiming to offer information about how to avoid contracting the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Those messages included attachments that spread the Emotet malware when opened.

Similar attacks will probably continue as long as COVID-19 remains in the news. (Which, if it continues to spread throughout pretty much the entire world, will be for a while.) The best way to defend against these efforts is to refrain from opening suspicious attachments or allowing websites to install anything on your system.

Nathaniel Mott
Freelance News & Features Writer

Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.