Cybersecurity experts are issuing a warning surrounding threats of computer viruses posing online as files about the deadly coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s getting their attention, because everyone’s been in tune, around the world, on this virus,” Raleigh cybersecurity expert Giovanni Masucci said to NBC affiliate WECT.
Officials with the Kaspersky cybersecurity firm said they’ve found dangerous files posing as commonly known files including PDFs, MP4s and DOCs. The files have indicated that they contain information on how to protect people from the coronavirus, updates on the threat and virus detection procedures.
“These cybercriminals that do this, most of them, they’re looking to profit,” Masucci said to WECT. “They’re going on the popularity of the coronavirus, and people wanting to know the information, how to protect themselves, is it spreading, and so on.”
The files actually contain software threats that could cause damage to the computer of those who download them and to others.
Masucci said the threats can multiply through networks, potentially infecting several computers and electronics.
“It can take personal data and continue to spread, just like we’re seeing the actual coronavirus is spreading around the world,” Masucci said to WECT.
Kaspersky officials have detected coronavirus-related malicious files with names including:
Officials said the number of documents could grow. They recommend only using official sources for research, paying attention to what is being downloaded and making sure documents and video files have the right extensions