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Here Is How Hackers Are Using Coronavirus Pandemic To Harvest Your Data

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Hackers are taking advantage of the lockdown by using schemes to harvest private data from users who use the internet to find out the latest information about the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Cybercriminals have devised Covid-19 themed phishing schemes and computer malware attacks by providing sweet enticing deals that will persuade users to sign up using their details, circulating on Whatsapp is one such scheme that promises users who sign up a gigabyte of data for free every day while in lockdown. “Get aware of the coronavirus using free Internet provided by the WHO. Get 1GB of data every day till April 30,” it reads.

When clicked on these links contain apps that have code that is designed to maliciously mine users’ private data including passwords.

“They are launching using e-mail-based attacks such as Phishing and ransomware attacks, purporting to be from official organizations such as the World Health Organisation,” Mr. Antony Muiyuro, senior manager and cybersecurity lead at Ernst and Young East Africa, told journalists.

Users should also be careful of other websites that require you to link your social media or Google accounts in order to receive these rewards.

If you get an email that is offering any of these sweet deals – ‘little measures that can save you’, ‘click here to donate’, or ‘here is how you can get a tax refund’, you are advised to not click on any of them and report them as spam.

Another way hackers are stealing your data is by building coronavirus live maps that when clicked, infect computers and phones with malware meant compromise data and steal user credentials.

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Other petty hackers are setting up pop up ads that claim users’ phones are infected and offering app downloads to scan the malware, this then infects the users’ computers or phones.

Dr. Bright Mawudor, head of cybersecurity services at Internet Solutions has also warned Kenyans from sharing messages with links that claim to reward you with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin when the link is shared several times.


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