Phishing Emails Touting Fake HIV Results and Coronavirus Cures Are Circulating

To be clear, there is no known cure for coronavirus, nor would one receive such news via a shady email.


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The coronavirus takeover of the U.S. news cycle has, as sadly should have been expected, inspired nefarious individuals to craft malware-infused emails.

As detailed in a piece from BuzzFeed News reporter Jane Lytvynenko on Tuesday, research from the cybersecurity research firm Proofpoint has found that scammers are sending emails that utilize the guise of (fake) "HIV results" information and matters of coronavirus. The faux HIV results emails, per the report, are crafted to look as if they originated from Vanderbilt University and include a "test results" attachment that causes the infection of Koadic Remote Access Trojan malware once downloaded. These emails have been sent to insurance, healthcare, and pharmaceutical companies.

The coronavirus-centered emails, which were reported as having first started popping up in late January around the same time Proofpoint and others spotted the HIV-related email scam, went as far as making claims about (also fake) cures. The COVID-19 emails appeared to be aimed at companies and other groups in the manufacturing, college, transportation, and healthcare fields.

"Using these really highly emotionally charged lures is becoming the standard," Proofpoint's senior director of threat research and detection Sherrod DeGrippo told Lytvynenko. As part of one's efforts to avoid becoming a victim to such scams, of course, it's enthusiastically recommended that passwords be unique and not-easily-guessable in nature. Furthermore, if an email simply looks suspicious as hell, then it probably is. 

Norton has also shared a rundown of how to specifically avoid coronavirus-exploiting email phishings. Click here for that.

In related news of the "falsehoods inspired by Coronavirus" variety, this is a friendly re-reminder that cocaine is not the cure.

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