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Coronavirus Affects More Than Your Physical Health

Published: March 16, 2020 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

The coronavirus—it doesn’t just cause vomiting, stomach aches, and chills…it also can wreak havoc on your computer. Researchers at Kaspersky reported finding malicious files that will pretend to be videos or documents with information about protecting yourself against the now infamous virus that is getting far more than fifteen minutes of fame.

The malicious files come by way of email. Be very wary of opening any attachments or clicking any links, regardless of the extension unless you are 100% sure they are safe. You should know the sender and/or be expecting the link or document. If these don’t apply, just don’t click.

Meanwhile, IBM’s X-Force is also warning the public not to open a Word document claiming to be from a healthcare provider warning of infections of the virus. This one is specifically targeting Japan, but in reality, it’s likely to hit the U.S. sooner than later too. The email contains a “notice” that runs a macro and installs the Emotet Trojan. This is particularly nasty as it can worm through networks, send out mass spam, steal private information, access online bank accounts, and even download other types of malware.

Macros should never be enabled by default. On newer versions of Microsoft Office products, it is disabled. However, in older versions, it’s enabled out of the box. Make sure yours is disabled. If an attachment you click asks if you want to enable macros, you should know what those macros are going to do beforehand. If you aren’t clear, give the sender a call and discuss it. The general rule is that if you didn’t create the macro, you should not allow it to run. So read any dialogue boxes before clicking them away.

Often, Emotet provides a pathway for BEC attacks to take place. This could be in mass email spam campaigns or through other types of malware it opens the door to. These business email compromise scams target individuals who have access to financial accounts and information; which could even be the CFO or CEO. If you fit into this category, always confirm any requests for wire transfers or payments of larger invoices or ones you’re not clear of, by voice or have another person approve these. This creates an extra check to make sure these are legitimate.

Remember, that if something in your email is trying to scare you or cause immediate fear or anxiety, pause. Take a breath and think about it before clicking.

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