The coronavirus is sending the world into a panic and hackers are using it as bait to steal people’s personal data.

Security experts have discovered cybercriminals are sending emails with a malicious strain of software disguised as information about the outbreak.

The emails, discovered in Japan, claim the virus has spread like wildfire throughout the country and prompt recipients to open an attachment to ‘learn more’.

This attachment gives hackers access to the victim’s computer, allowing them to harvest personal data and infect their computers with a virus.

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Security experts have discovered cybercriminals are sending emails with a malicious strain of software disguised as information about the outbreak. The emails, discovered in Japan, claim the virus has spread like wildfire throughout the country and prompt recipients to open an attachment to 'learn more'

Security experts have discovered cybercriminals are sending emails with a malicious strain of software disguised as information about the outbreak. The emails, discovered in Japan, claim the virus has spread like wildfire throughout the country and prompt recipients to open an attachment to ‘learn more’

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

And now hackers are taking advantage of people’s fears.

Security Experts with IBM X-Force and Kasperky uncovered the malicious emails, which they found 'are composed of different representations of the current date and the Japanese word for 'notification', in order to suggest urgency,' IBM X-Force shares in a blog post

Security Experts with IBM X-Force and Kasperky uncovered the malicious emails, which they found ‘are composed of different representations of the current date and the Japanese word for ‘notification’, in order to suggest urgency,’ IBM X-Force shares in a blog post

Security Experts with IBM X-Force and Kasperky uncovered the malicious emails, which they found ‘are composed of different representations of the current date and the Japanese word for ‘notification’, in order to suggest urgency,’ IBM X-Force shares in a blog post.

The emails appear to be sent by a disability welfare service provider in Japan, which warn recipients the outbreak has spread to certain parts of the country and urges the reader to open the attach document to learn more about the outbreak.

To make the emails seem authentic, hackers have added a footer at the bottom, complete with a postal address as well as a phone and fax number.

Kaspersky analyst Anton Ivanov said: ‘The coronavirus, which is currently hotly debated in the media, has been used as a bait by cybercriminals’

‘So far, we’ve only identified ten unique files, but since this type of activity is common to popular media topics, we expect this number to increase.

The emails appear to be sent by a disability welfare service provider in Japan, which warn recipients the outbreak has spread to certain parts of the country and urges the reader to open the attach document to learn more about the outbreak

The emails appear to be sent by a disability welfare service provider in Japan, which warn recipients the outbreak has spread to certain parts of the country and urges the reader to open the attach document to learn more about the outbreak

To make the emails seem authentic, hackers have added a footer at the bottom, complete with a postal address as well as a phone and fax number.

To make the emails seem authentic, hackers have added a footer at the bottom, complete with a postal address as well as a phone and fax number.

‘As people continue to worry about their health, fake documents that are said to educate them about the coronavirus may be spreading more and more malware.’

The first human cases were publicly reported from the Chinese city of Wuhan, where approximately 11 million people live, after medics first started publicly reporting infections on December 31.

By January 8, 59 suspected cases had been reported and seven people were in critical condition. Tests were developed for the new virus and recorded cases started to surge.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000.

Just a week after that, there had been more than 800 confirmed cases and those same scientists estimated that some 4,000 – possibly 9,700 – were infected in Wuhan alone. By that point, 26 people had died.

By January 27, more than 2,800 people were confirmed to have been infected, 81 had died and an estimated total number of cases ranged from 100,000 to 350,000 in Wuhan alone.

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000

The first person died that week and, by January 16, two were dead and 41 cases were confirmed. The next day, scientists predicted that 1,700 people had become infected, possibly up to 7,000

By January 29, the number of deaths had risen to 132 and cases were in excess of 6,000.

By February 5, there were more than 24,000 cases and 492 deaths.

By February 11, this had risen to more than 43,000 cases and 1,000 deaths.

A change in the way cases are confirmed on February 13 – doctors decided to start using lung scans as a formal diagnosis, as well as laboratory tests – caused a spike in the number of cases, to more than 60,000 and to 1,369 deaths.

By February 25, around 80,000 people had been infected and some 2,700 had died. 

February 25 was the first day in the outbreak when fewer cases were diagnosed within China than in the rest of the world.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS SO FAR 

Someone who is infected with the coronavirus can spread it with just a simple cough or a sneeze, scientists say.

Nearly 3,000 people with the virus are now confirmed to have died and more than 83,000 have been infected. Here’s what we know so far:

What is the coronavirus?

A coronavirus is a type of virus which can cause illness in animals and people. Viruses break into cells inside their host and use them to reproduce itself and disrupt the body’s normal functions. Coronaviruses are named after the Latin word ‘corona’, which means crown, because they are encased by a spiked shell which resembles a royal crown.

The coronavirus from Wuhan is one which has never been seen before this outbreak. It has been named SARS-CoV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses. The name stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2.

Experts say the bug, which has killed around one in 50 patients since the outbreak began in December, is a ‘sister’ of the SARS illness which hit China in 2002, so has been named after it.

The disease that the virus causes has been named COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019.

Dr Helena Maier, from the Pirbright Institute, said: ‘Coronaviruses are a family of viruses that infect a wide range of different species including humans, cattle, pigs, chickens, dogs, cats and wild animals.

‘Until this new coronavirus was identified, there were only six different coronaviruses known to infect humans. Four of these cause a mild common cold-type illness, but since 2002 there has been the emergence of two new coronaviruses that can infect humans and result in more severe disease (Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) coronaviruses).

‘Coronaviruses are known to be able to occasionally jump from one species to another and that is what happened in the case of SARS, MERS and the new coronavirus. The animal origin of the new coronavirus is not yet known.’

 

 



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