Map depicts the worldwide cases of the disease.
There's a lot of false information floating around out there regarding COVID-19. The internet and social media are full of misinformation, much of it from well-meaning but really scared people, who are passing on incorrect data.
Now, malware is popping up to play on people's anxiety, and one scam, in particular, is, unfortunately, quite official-looking. We aren't going to put the link of this malware in the article, but you can see a version of it in the photo above.
CYBER SECURITY ALERT: A malicious website pretending to be the live map for Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins University is circulating on the internet, visiting the website infects the user with the AZORult trojan. The legitimate link is: https://t.co/5asuZ1keJG pic.twitter.com/Ye7u8or62r— NC National Guard (@NCNationalGuard) March 12, 2020
According to a recent Colorado county government civic alert, a malicious live map of global COVID-19 cases that looks like it's from Johns Hopkins is tricking people into downloading it, which triggers the malware, which can steal browsing history, cookies, ID/passwords, cryptocurrency, and more. It can also download additional malware onto infected machines.
"The confusion comes from an issue where a malicious person created a downloadable Windows-based application containing malware whose display is practically identical to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus browser-based dashboard," says Esri.com, the host of the real map.
You can keep up with Esri's updates on the malware here.
It's important to note that the real Johns Hopkins website has a perfectly safe and informative global map that you can view. This is the link to the real Johns Hopkins coronavirus map, which brings together data from the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Protection.
If you've downloaded the malware map already and your computer is infected with what is being called AZORult, the alert suggests visiting the Reason Blog's information to learn more and for remediation tips.
“If you receive an email containing a link to download such an item or come across the code for the malicious app please report it immediately to the Esri incident response team through ArcGIS Trust Center security concern page,” Jill Rosen, Johns Hopkins spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Unfortunately, malicious hacking attempts like this will only increase as we continue to deal with COVID-19.
"As the coronavirus continues to spread and more apps and technologies are developed to monitor it, we will likely be seeing an increase in corona malware. Please use caution when opening emails or visiting websites claiming to have information about the coronavirus," says the alert. "We recommend only visiting reputable sites and never clicking on links or attachments in emails claiming to take you to the information.
You can find real, up-to-date information about the coronavirus on the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.
Do you know of any other coronavirus-related scams we should let readers know about? Please keep us up to date in the comments below, so we can help as many people as possible.