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Coronavirus Outbreak Exploited to Infect Computers with Emotet Malware

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the deadly global Coronavirus international health emergency or outbreak by sending out fake informative emails with malware attached. There have been nearly 7,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, the majority of which have been in China where there have at least 170 deaths.

Coronavirus Outbreak Exploited to Infect Computers with Emotet Malware
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The cybercriminals' aim is to trick the recipients into opening a malicious Microsoft Word attachment, which will infect their computers with a spyware, trojan or some other Emotet malware. The cybercriminals trick their potential victims into opening the malicious document by claiming it contains critical information they need to read to protect themselves from getting infected after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the current Conronavirus outbreak as a global public health emergency.

Just opening the malicious Microsoft Word attachment alone will not infect the recipients' computers, they will have to "Enable Content" or "Enable Editing", which will execute a set of code called a Macro that downloads the malware from a remote computer and execute it to infect the victims' computers. This type of malware attack is called Emotet, which is used by cybercriminals to steal banking information and other sensitive information from potential victims.

Recipients of unexpected emails with a Microsoft Word attachment are asked to take precautions before attempting to open the document. And, if they unknowingly open a malicious Microsoft Word document and asked to "Enable Editing" or "Enable Content," they should not do so. If they did, they should scan their computers with the antivirus software installed on their computers.

Microsoft Word "Enable Edit" or “Enable Content” Prompt

Macro Security Warning - Macros have been disabled - Enable Content

How to Protect Yourself

If you are sent an unexpected email message with an attached .docx or .dotx document, ask to open the document, and then ask to "Enable Editing" or "Enable Content" in order to view the content, please delete the document. This is because "Enable Editing" or "Enable Content" will run or execute the malicious code or Macro, which will download and install Trojan horse, spyware, viruses or other malware on your computer.

Once your computer has become infected, the cybercriminals behind the malicious email message will be able to access and take control of your computer remotely from anywhere around the world. They will spy on you, use your computer to commit cybercrimes, and steal your personal and financial information.

If you were tricked into opening a malicious Microsoft Word document (.docx or .dotx file) and enabling "Editing", Macro or "Content", we recommend doing a full scan of your computer with the antivirus software installed on it. If you don’t have antivirus software installed on your computer, please click here for a list of free antivirus software.

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Note: Some of the information in samples on this website may have been impersonated or spoofed.
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Coronavirus Outbreak Exploited to Infect Computers with Emotet Malware