Warning: Checking this Coronavirus map lets hackers attack your Windows PC

Warning: Checking this Coronavirus map lets hackers attack your Windows PC

Checking the spread of Coronavirus worldwide can be hugely important for public health. However, a popular online tool designed to track the outbreak has been unmasked as a means for cyber crooks to spread dangerous malware onto PCs across the globe. If you’ve visited the website to check the number of cases of the novel coronavirus worldwide …your PC might already be battling its own infection.

Hackers are jumping on the coronavirus outbreak as a means to spread dangerous malware to computers across the globe, researchers have stated. One of the most popular tools designed to map-out the spread of the novel coronavirus, which can lead to the potentially fatal COVID-19 virus, has been used to spread the AZORult malware.

If you’re unfamiliar with the name – this is a particularly nasty strain of malware. This digital virus is designed to steal sensitive information from your machine, including usernames and passwords for online accounts, addresses, credit card numbers, and more.

AZORult isn’t new. In fact, it has been circulating among cybercriminals for around four years, changing hands on underground forums in Russia and fuelling a number of devastating campaigns online. The malware laced into the coronavirus map appears to be looking for online credentials. This could allow the hackers to place orders in your name, withdraw money from online accounts, or more.


If you use the same email address-password combination for a number of your online accounts, it’s important to change each of these to a unique combination – especially if you believe your machine has been infected by a malware strain like AZORult. This is because hackers would only need to acquire the login credentials for a single account to be able to access a slew of logins in your name – leading to more sensitive information being leaked to the cyber crooks.

Password managers, like LastPass or 1Password, are a good way to securely manage your accounts since you only need to remember a single password – the one that unlocks the vault. Every other online account has its own randomly-generated password by the app.

The threat from the coronavirus map was unearthed by Reason Labs researcher Shai Alfasi. In a blog post about the threat, Alfasi posted: “The password-stealing operation process is simple because the malware steals the ‘login data’ from the installed browser and moves it to ‘C:WindowsTemp’.”

Users do not need to download an app to run risks from this particulate malware. Interactive browser dashboards – like the one that displays live updates on the novel coronavirus spread, which has infected more than 110,000 people worldwide and caused 4,000 deaths – can be infected by AZORult.

To ensure your computer is safe – crucial as more and more businesses encourage employees to work from home – avoid accessing any such maps or links under any circumstances, Shai Alfasi cautions.

As the novel coronavirus spreads, cyber attackers are increasingly exploiting the popularity of COVID-19 related resources, so be careful out there.

Published at Thu, 12 Mar 2020 16:27:00 +0000